New Interest Group – Picture Books for Young Adults

One of my favorite audiences for booktalks is a group of middle school students. I love their tough exteriors, their hyper-aware disinterest, and their expectation that anything I say will be boring. For that reason, I like to line up my books on a table and ask them to pick which books look interesting. If there are a couple of picture books in the mix, inevitably someone will go for the laugh and select one of those. For example, I might set out these:

The picture books mixed in this line-up have a sarcastic edge that is just right for thirteen-year-old readers. They serve to break the ice and get the audience comfortable about choosing other books in my display. And it’s a way to raise awareness for the non-babyish appeal of many picture books.

The trick is finding these transcendent picture books. I have gathered a few favorites over the years. Maybe you have, too. These books are discovered not through subject headings or award lists, but through the experience of reading book after book and recognizing the appeal. Continue reading New Interest Group – Picture Books for Young Adults

Mathematics Awareness Month: Math Is All Around

As we wind our way through April, many of us take the time to celebrate poetry, but how many of us pause for Mathematics Awareness Month? It seems like the perfect time to dust off and update my second Hub post ever, Fiction + Math = <3.

Fiction math screenshot

In that post, I looked at math-related books in several categories, among them making money, sci-fi/fantasy, making sense of the world, puzzle books, amateur detectives/solving crimes, and nonfiction. Since then, protagonists Colin Fischer and Don from The Rosie Project have both lent their logical worldviews (each is on the autism spectrum) to making sense of the world. Danica McKellar has added Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape to her series of magazine-style math instruction books. And fiction books that simply put math themes front-and-center are still around, as with The Absolute Value of Mike, in which Mike’s dyscalculia prevents him from connecting with his math-professor father. Continue reading Mathematics Awareness Month: Math Is All Around