Book Lists

Women In STEM (Math & Science) – Author Interview with Laurie Wallmark, and Giveaway

 Today we’re interviewing Laurie Wallmark, author of Numbers in Motion, and several other titles.

 

                               

This book features the STEM topics of mathematical equations and science, and how Sophie Kowalevski became the first woman in the world to receive a doctorate in mathematics that required original research and inspired a generation of mathematicians.

Sophie was also the first to hold a university chair in mathematics, and the first to be the editor of a major scientific journal.

 

  1. Tell us about Numbers in Motion and what inspired you to write the story of Sophie Kowalevski.

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved math. Why? Because it’s fun! Although several of the people I’ve written about before have been talented mathematicians, they were recognized in different fields. I thought it was time to share a woman mathematician’s story with kids.

 

2. How did you do your research for this book? How did you organize all the information you learned about Sophie?

I researched her life through books and professional journal articles. A book that was especially helpful was written by Sophie herself, A Russian Childhood.

I use the program OneNote to organize all my research. I have a separate tab for each book, each of which includes a section for notes and for quotations. It’s very important to be able to go back to your notes and find the source for what you’ve written. In addition, I have tabs for my bibliography, a timeline of Sophie’s life, and, while I was researching and writing the book, an ever-expanding list of possible scenes to write.

 

 

3. How do you envision teachers and librarians using this book in classrooms?

The true value of picture books is that they can be used on so many levels. To start with, there is of course the text and illustrations of the story. Especially in a book like mine that takes place in another time period, there are many possibilities for discussing how the world has changed.

In addition, most nonfiction picture books, including mine, include some basic back matter such as a timeline and a bibliography. Numbers in Motion also has three more pieces of back matter. My author’s note tells how, in addition to being a mathematician, Sophie was also a writer. Next, for students (like me!) who might want to know more about Sophie’s math, I explain in more detail the problem she solved–the rotation of solid bodies. Finally, I include how Sophie Kowalevski’s name was transliterated from the Cyrillic alphabet. This presents a great opportunity to discuss how people’s (possibly even some of their classmates’) names might be spelled different ways when written in our Roman alphabet.

 

4. Can you suggest three questions related to women in mathematics for student discussions?

  1. Why do you think we haven’t heard of as many woman mathematicians as men?
  2. Do you think woman and girls have the same natural ability in math as men and boys?
  3. Do you think there are any women working in mathematics today who have made important discoveries

 

 

5. What do you want readers to take away from Numbers in Motion?

Sophie loved math and overcame many obstacles to pursue her studies. I think the big take away from Numbers in Motion is it’s worth pursuing your dreams, even if other people say you can’t or shouldn’t.

To read more about Laurie and her work, click here.

 

Want to own your very own copy of Numbers In Motion? Enter our giveaway by leaving a comment below! 

 

You may earn extra entries by blogging/tweeting/facebooking the interview and letting us know. The winner will be announced here on April 13, 2020 and will be contacted via email and asked to provide a mailing address (US only) to receive the book.

 

 

 

Support local booksellers with these new releases!

Now more than ever we need to support our local book sellers and children’s book authors. And, we need to keep fueling the minds of the middle-grade readers in our lives. What better way than to purchase these up-and-coming releases geared toward this awesome age group.  Note that each has a link to click on to an independent book seller near you. My favorite local book store, Gathering Volumes in Perrysburg, Ohio, was more than happy to take my order over the phone last week and ship out a gift to my niece. There are some great reads on this list! Happy shopping!

Greystone Secrets #2: The Deceivers by Margaret Peterson Haddix, HarperCollins Publishers, April 7

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Shop your local indie bookstore

The second book in the Greystone Secrets series from the master of plot twists, Margaret Peterson Haddix—perfect for fans of A Wrinkle in Time and The City of Ember!

Until their mother vanished, the Greystone kids—Chess, Emma, and Finn—knew nothing about the other world.

Everything is different there. It’s a mirror image, except things are wrong. Evil. Their mother tried to fix it, but she and an ally got trapped there along with Ms. Morales, their friend Natalie’s mom.

Now the four kids—brave Chess, smart Emma, kind Finn, and savvy Natalie—are determined to rescue everyone.

To do so, they have to go back: into the other world, where even telling the truth can be illegal.

But in such a terrifying place, Chess doubts he can ever be brave enough. Despite all her brains, Emma can’t seem to break the code. With everything spiraling out of control, Finn has to pretend he’s okay.

And for Natalie, the lies of the other world include some she wishes were actually true. What if she’s gotten so used to lying she no longer knows what to believe?

The second book in the Greystone Secrets series, The Deceivers, by bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix, continues the twisty and suspenseful story of the Greystone kids and examines the power of the truth—or a lie—to alter lives, society, and even an entire reality.

The Big, Fun Kids Cookbook, Hearst Home Books, April 7

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Shop your local indie bookstore
It’s the ultimate kids cookbook from America’s #1 food magazine: 150+ fun, easy recipes for young cooks, plus bonus games and food trivia!

The Big, Fun Kids Cookbook from Food Network Magazine gives young food lovers everything they need to succeed in the kitchen. Each recipe is totally foolproof and easy to follow, with color photos and tips to help beginners get excited about cooking. The book includes recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert—all from the trusted chefs in Food Network’s test kitchen.

Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega, Scholastic, April 7

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Shop your local indie bookstore
Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters in this action-packed supernatural fantasy.

For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business.

Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely’s firefly spirits before it’s too late.

With the family dynamics of Coco and action-packed adventure of Ghostbusters, Claribel A. Ortega delivers both a thrillingly spooky and delightfully sweet debut novel.

Kate the Chemist: The Big Book of Experiments, by Kate Biberdorf, Penguin Young Readers Group, April 14

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Shop your local indie bookstore

Packed with 25 incredible science experiments kids can do at home, Kate the Chemist introduces young scientists to the fascinating world of STEM!

Have you ever wondered how to make a volcano explode? Or why dropping dry ice in soap bubbles forms neon brains?

With 25 kid-friendly science experiments, and stunning full-color photographs, Kate the Chemist’s big book of experiments, shows kids just how fun—and easy—it is to be a scientist. Learn how to make slime, fake tattoos, edible snot, and more! Experiments include step-by-step instructions, an ingredients list, full color photographs, a messiness factor rating, and a note from Kate.

Create future engineers, scientists, and inventors, and introduce your child to the world of STEM with Kate the Chemist: The Big Book of Experiments!

And, last but not least, this title came out last month, but wanted to shed some light on this great story!

The Prettiest by Brigit Young, Roaring Brook Press, April 14

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Shop your local indie bookstore

A must-read for young feminists, The Prettiest is an incisive, empowering novel by Brigit Young about fighting back against sexism and objectification.

THE PRETTIEST: It’s the last thing Eve Hoffmann expected to be, the only thing Sophie Kane wants to be, and something Nessa Flores-Brady knows she’ll never be . . . until a list appears online, ranking the top fifty prettiest girls in the eighth grade.

Eve is disgusted by the way her body is suddenly being objectified by everyone around her.

Sophie is sick of the bullying she’s endured after being relegated to number two.

And Nessa is tired of everyone else trying to tell her who she is.

It’s time for a takedown. As the three girls band together, they begin to stand up not just for themselves, but for one another, too.

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager, Penguin Young Readers Group, April 21

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Shop your local indie bookstore
A page-turning middle-grade adaptation of the New York Times bestseller about how a newly independent nation was challenged by foreign powers and what happened when America’s third president decided to stand up to intimidation.

When Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801, America was deeply in debt and needed its economy to grow quickly, but its merchant ships were under attack. Pirates from North Africa routinely captured American sailors and held them as captives demanding ransom and tribute far beyond what the new country could afford.

Jefferson found it impossible to negotiate a truce, and decided to move beyond diplomacy. He sent the U.S. Navy and Marines to blockade Tripoli—launching the Barbary Wars and beginning America’s journey toward future superpower status.

This vivid and accessible young readers adaptation of the New York Times bestseller features an exclusive new introduction, extensive back matter, and eye-catching art throughout. Chronicling a crucial moment in American history, this historical thriller will excite and inspire the next generation of patriots.

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk, Penguin Young Readers Group, April 21

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Shop your local indie bookstore
The Newbery Honor–winning author of Wolf Hollow and Beyond the Bright Sea returns with the story of an unforgettable young heroine in Depression-era Maine.

“Brilliant.” –Lynda Mullaly Hunt, bestselling author of Fish in a Tree

When the Great Depression takes almost everything they own, Ellie’s family is forced to leave their home in town and start over in the untamed forests of nearby Echo Mountain. Ellie has found a welcome freedom, and a love of the natural world, in her new life on the mountain. But there is little joy, even for Ellie, as her family struggles with the aftermath of an accident that has left her father in a coma. An accident unfairly blamed on Ellie.

Determined to help her father, Ellie will make her way to the top of the mountain in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as “the hag.” But the hag, and the mountain, still have many untold stories left to reveal and, with them, a fresh chance at happiness.

Echo Mountain is celebration of finding your own path and becoming your truest self. Newbery Honor– and Scott O’Dell Award–winning author Lauren Wolk weaves a stunning tale of resilience, persistence, and friendship across three generations of families, set against the rough and ragged beauty of the mountain they all call home.

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson, Bloombury USA, April 28

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Shop your local indie bookstore
From Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Award winner Renée Watson comes the first book in a young middle grade series about Ryan Hart, a girl who is pure spirit, kindness, and sunshine.

Ryan Hart has a lot on her mind—school, self-image, and especially family. Her dad finally has a new job, but money is tight. That means some changes, like selling their second car and moving into a new (old) house. But Ryan is a girl who knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. As her brother says when he raps about her, she’s got the talent that matters most: it’s a talent that can’t be seen, she’s nice, not mean!

Ryan is all about trying to see the best in people, to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend. But even if her life isn’t everything she would wish for, when her big brother is infuriating, her parents don’t quite understand, and the unexpected happens, she always finds a way forward, with grace and wit. And plenty of sunshine.

Acclaimed author Renée Watson writes her own version of Ramona Quimby, one starring a Black girl and her family, in this start to a charming new series.

Living the Confidence Code: Real Girls, Real Stories, Real Confidence by Katty Kay, Claire Shipman and JillEllyn Riley, HarperCollins Publishers, April 28.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Shop your local indie bookstore
New from the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling authors of The Confidence Code for Girls!

The best way to understand confidence is to see it in action. That’s why bestselling authors Katty Kay, Claire Shipman, and JillEllyn Riley have collected 30 true stories of real girls, pursuing their passions, struggling and stumbling, but along the way figuring out how to build their own special brand of confidence.

From Bali to Brazil, South Africa to Seattle, Australia to Afghanistan, these girls took risks, doubted themselves, and sometimes failed. But they also hung in there when things got hard. Along the way they discovered what matters to them: everything from protesting contaminated water to championing inclusive books to the accessibility of girls’ basketball shoes, and so much more.

Different goals, different stories, different personalities, all illustrating the multitude of ways to be confident in the world.

Packed with photos, graphic novel strips, and engaging interviews, Living the Confidence Code proves that no matter who you are, or how old you are, nothing is out of reach when you decide to try. Join this growing global community of powerful girls and imagine—what would you like to do, once you tap into your confidence? How will you write your story?

Hunger Winter: A World War II Novel by Rob Currie, Tyndale Publishers

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Shop your local indie bookstore

The thrilling story of one boy’s quest to find his father and protect his younger sister during the great Dutch famine of World War II.
“Sometimes you have to take a chance, because it’s the only chance you have.”

Thirteen-year-old Dirk has been the man of the house since his papa disappeared while fighting against the Nazis with the Dutch Resistance. When the Gestapo arrests Dirk’s older sister, who is also a Resistance fighter, Dirk fears that he and his little sister, Anna, might be next.

With only pockets full of food and his sister asleep in his arms, Dirk runs away to find his father. As Dirk leads Anna across the war-torn Netherlands, from farmyards to work camps, he must rely on his wits and his father’s teaching to find his way.

Celebrating Girls in Sports

March is Women’s History Month, celebrating women of all ages, and it happens to be National Nutrition Month, which encourages healthy eating and being active physically.

So, let’s talk sports and sports books for middle-grade girls.

The Women’s Sports Foundation, established by tennis icon Billie Jean King in 1974, closely tracks and reports on girls’ and women’s involvement in sports. Their research is concerning.

Only 1 in 3 girls between the ages of 6-12 participates in sports. 40% of teen girls are not participating in sports. 43% of girls have never played a sport.

Although there are many factors that come into play (sorry!) in these statistics, I might suggest that if we can continue to provide young girls with stories of female athletes, both in fiction as well as nonfiction, we might inspire them to consider participating in athletic endeavors.

To that end, I’ve discovered several great titles that might just be the ticket in opening up the world of sports for the aspiring athletes in your life!

Shred Girls Lindsay’s Joy Ride by Molly Hurfurd (Rodale Kids, 2019)

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Shop your local indie bookstore

An empowering new series from the cyclist who runs Shred-Girls.com is guaranteed to give readers an adrenaline rush–and the confidence girls gain from participating in sports!

It’s time to ride and save the day!

Lindsay can’t wait to spend her summer break reading comics and watching superhero movies–until she finds out she’ll be moving in with her weird older cousin Phoebe instead. And Phoebe has big plans for Lindsay: a BMX class at her bike park with cool-girl Jen and perfectionist Ali.

Lindsay’s summer of learning awesome BMX tricks with new friends and a new bike turns out to be more epic than any comic book–and it’s all leading up to a jumping competition.

But some of the biker boys don’t think girls should be allowed to compete in BMX. Now it’s up to Lindsay, Jen, and Ali to win the competition and prove that anyone can be great at BMX.

Women in Sports by Rachel Ignotofsky (Ten Speed Press, 2017)

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Shop your local indie bookstore

Illustrated profiles of fifty pioneering female athletes, from the author of the New York Times bestseller Women in Science.

Women for the win!

A richly illustrated and inspiring book, Women in Sports highlights the achievements and stories of fifty notable women athletes from the 1800s to today, including trailblazers, Olympians, and record-breakers in more than forty sports. The athletes featured include well-known figures like tennis player Billie Jean King and gymnast Simone Biles, as well as lesser-known champions like Toni Stone, the first woman to play baseball in a professional men’s league, and skateboarding pioneer Patti McGee. The book also contains infographics on topics that sporty women want to know about such as muscle anatomy, a timeline ofwomen’s participation in sports, pay and media statistics for female athletes, and influential women’s teams. Women in Sports celebrates the success of the tough, bold, and fearless women who paved the way for today’s athletes.

Get a Grip Vivy Cohen by Sarah Kapit (Dial Books, 2020)

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Shop your local indie bookstore

In this perfectly pitched novel-in-letters, autistic eleven-year-old Vivy Cohen won’t let anything stop her from playing baseball–not when she has a major-league star as her pen pal.

Vivy Cohen is determined. She’s had enough of playing catch in the park. She’s ready to pitch for a real baseball team.

But Vivy’s mom is worried about Vivy being the only girl on the team, and the only autistic kid. She wants Vivy to forget about pitching, but Vivy won’t give up. When her social skills teacher makes her write a letter to someone, Vivy knows exactly who to choose: her hero, Major League pitcher VJ Capello. Then two amazing things happen: A coach sees Vivy’s amazing knuckleball and invites her to join his team. And VJ starts writing back!

Now Vivy is a full-fledged pitcher, with a catcher as a new best friend and a steady stream of advice from VJ. But when a big accident puts her back on the bench, Vivy has to fight to stay on the team.

Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages (Puffin Books reprint, 2019)

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Shop your local indie bookstore

A story about the fight for equal rights in America’s favorite arena: the baseball field!

Every boy in the neighborhood knows Katy Gordon is their best pitcher, even though she’s a girl. But when she tries out for Little League, it’s a whole different story. Girls are not eligible, period. It is a boy’s game and always has been. It’s not fair, and Katy’s going to fight back. Inspired by what she’s learning about civil rights in school, she sets out to prove that she’s not the only girl who plays baseball. With the help of friendly librarians and some tenacious research skills, Katy discovers the forgotten history of female ball players. Why does no one know about them? Where are they now? And how can one ten-year-old change people’s minds about what girls can do?

Set in 1957—the world of Sputnik and Leave It to Beaver, saddle shoes and “Heartbreak Hotel”—Out of Left Field is both a detailed picture of a fascinating historic period and a timelessly inspiring story about standing up for equality at any age.

Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions by Henry Lien

Takedown by Laura Shovan (Wendy Lamb Books, 2018) ***Note: Takedown comes out in paperback in April!

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Shop your local indie bookstore

Handpicked by Amazon kids’ books editor, Seira Wilson, for Prime Book Box – a children’s subscription that inspires a love of reading.

Mikayla is a wrestler; when you grow up in a house full of brothers who wrestle, it’s inevitable. It’s also a way to stay connected to her oldest brother, Evan, who moved in with their dad. Some people object to having a girl on the team. But that’s not stopping Mikayla. She’s determined to work harder than ever, and win.

Lev is determined to make it to the state championships this year. He’s used to training with his two buddies as the Fearsome Threesome; they know how to work together. At the beginning of sixth grade, he’s paired with a new partner–a girl. This better not get in the way of his goal.

Mikayla and Lev work hard together and become friends. But when they face each other, only one of them can win.

“Kids struggle every day with the dynamics of high expectations, performance standards, and social relationships. Takedown is a great example of how the sport of wrestling can help everyone involved conquer these challenges and appreciate some of life’s most valuable lessons.” –Kyle Snyder, Olympic wrestling gold medalist

Rising Above: Inspiring Women in Sports by George Zimmerman (Philomel, 2018)

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Shop your local indie bookstore

Behold the power of women! These are the inspirational real-life stories of female superstar athletes Serena and Venus Williams, Simone Biles, Carli Lloyd, and more — role models all. For sports fans, aspiring athletes and readers of sports biographies.

Growing up in a crime-plagued, gang-infested neighborhood, Venus and Serena Williams were led to believe their environment was not a place where dreams could come true. It took a relentless determination, a burning desire to be the best, and a willingness to conquer racial barriers for them to emerge as tennis legends. Simone Biles was raised by a single mother with addiction issues, forcing her grandparents to intervene. But Simone soon discovered balance beams and gymnastics mats, setting her on a path toward Olympic greatness. Carli Lloyd, meanwhile, believed her youth soccer career was really starting to take off, only to be cut from her team. Instead of quitting the sport she loved, Carli rebuilt her confidence from the ground up, ultimately becoming one of the leaders on the World Cup Champion US Women’s Soccer team.

The athletes featured in this book met earth-shaking challenges head on, and through hard work and perseverance, went on to conquer the sports world. This collection of mini biographies, complete with first-hand content drawn from interviews, is a source of inspiration and self-empowerment for kids and sports fans of all ages.

Also included in the book: Wilma Rudolph (track and field), Mo’ne Davis (Little League baseball), Swin Cash (basketball), Elena Delle Donne (basketball), Bethany Hamilton (surfing), Ronda Rousey (mixed martial arts), and Kerri Strug (gymnastics).