Math Can Be Amazing!

We’re about one month into the school year, and unfortunately some kids may soon be feeling discouraged about math. One way to counteract the “Math is hard” complaint is to show your kids the playful, creative side of math. Certainly, for the youngest kids, we have great choices of books about counting and shapes. However, we have many wonderful books that present more complicated mathematical skills in an enjoyable way (through art, riddles, games and even poetry).

Greg Tang has made a career out of math education and is the undisputed master of making math fun for kids. Here are just three of our Greg Tang books.

The Grapes of Math by Greg Tang  Math For All Seasons by Greg Tang  Math-terpieces by Greg Tang

Sometimes authors choose to present math concepts in a story format. Here are two picture books that explore counting money and ways to take measurements.

Once Upon a Dime by Nancy Kelly Allen    Measuring Penny vy Loreen Leedy

This next book introduces tangrams, a type of shape puzzle which has been played for hundreds of years. You can read the book and then make your own tangrams out of paper or cardboard. Use the shapes to create your own pictures or go online to see some classic tangram puzzles.

Three Pigs, One Wolf, and Seven Magic Shapes by Grace Maccarone

Geometry terms and concepts are explored in these three medieval tales by Cindy Neuschwander.

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander   Sir Cumference and the First round Table by Cindy Neuschwander   Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland by Cindy Neuschwander

Don’t stop there! We’re just getting warmed up! Check out these books with games, puzzles, riddles and more fun facts about math.

Arithme-tickle by J. Patrick Lewis   Midnight Math by Peter Ledwon and Marilyn Mets

Go Figure! by Johnny Ball   Marvelous Math edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Another way to help your children develop math skills is to make a point of showing them how often you use math. Both of the following books are from series that discuss how math is actually applied. The first book series is aimed at young kids, but the second series is great for upper elementary and up.

Math in the Kitchen by Ellen Weiss  Building Math by John Perritano

Kids’ biographies are also a great jumping-off point for discussions of math, as well as history and science. Your child may be amazed to learn that world-famous mathematicians may have struggled with schoolwork as a child. All of these choices will be more fun if you read them with your child. Don’t be surprised if you learn something, too! And, isn’t learning together the most fun of all?

Starry Messenger by Peter Sis  The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman  Blockhead: the Life of Finonacci by Joseph D'Agnese





National Read a Book Day!

September 6 is National Read a Book Day! What better place to get a book to read than the Aurora Public Library District? For readers of all ages and walks of life, we’ve got just the right book for you!

You can stop by one of our branches and leisurely browse our selection, reading the backs and inserts of the books for summaries to decide what book you’re going to check out. Our staff is always willing to recommend books to you (and obsess over books and characters with you…). This is the way libraries have been operating for decades, and it still works today! If you have a library card, you can check out the books for two weeks and renew them two times after that if you need to, as well.

You could also download Overdrive to any of your smart devices, like your phone or tablet. Once you download the app, you’ll be able to access the thousands of books we have in our digital collection, the Indiana Digital Download Center. To log in, type in your library card and pin number and you’ll be all set! You can also set the limits to be able to check items out for 7, 14, or 21 days. Once your due date is here, the item will automatically check itself back in so you don’t have to worry about late fees!

If you’re having trouble finding your next great read, you can also visit some of the websites we have listed under the Online Resources tab on our website. You can visit Novelist to find author-, title-, and series-read-a-likes just by typing your favorite author, title, or series. For younger readers, there is also Novelist K-8. Select Reads is a website where you can join online book clubs, sign up for newsletters about your favorite genre and author, and even sing up for contests to win free books. Another great website to find your next favorite book is Goodreads. You can rate and review books, and chat with and add friends who love books as much as you do. There are blogs, summaries, and giveaways you can enter in, plus you can ask your favorite authors questions that they just might answer back! It’s kind of like Facebook for book lovers.

Utilize one or all of these resources to find your next great read and join in on National Read a Book Day! Let us know what you’ll be reading by commenting on this blog, stopping in, or writing on our Facebook wall. We would love to hear from you!

Happy Reading!

Bird-watching: A hobby for the whole family

If you are looking for an affordable and enjoyable hobby for the whole family, bird-watching might be right for you.  Bird-watching works for the very active and the not so active (I fall into the latter category). All you need to start is a pair of binoculars (cheap ones will work as starters) pen and paper (to record all your great sightings), a good field guide and a love for nature.  While aching knees or backs will eventually force your friends to hang up their skis or running shoes, birders can bird for as long as they can walk, roll, or look out a window (I’m genuinely excited to impress my roommates at whatever nursing home I eventually get put into). When I’m feeling very energetic I head for the woods or the river for a long walk, but most often it’s a tall glass of iced tea watching the bird feeders from my deck chair! This year my favorite sightings included a pileated woodpecker (Woody Woodpecker), a Ruby-throated hummingbird, and a Baltimore Oriole.

A great website for information is The Library offers many resources on birds, including;

Birds; a guide to the most familiar American birds

Birds of the world

National Audubon Society first field guide. Birds

A field guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American birds

Birds and Blooms

Winter, Spring , Summer or Fall, you can “bird” in them all, so consider catching the bird-watching bug, we can compare sightings and maybe we’ll have that elusive  Big Year.