Social learners and budding math lovers alike will find something awesome about this exceptional man.

THE BOY WHO LOVED MATH

THE IMPROBABLE LIFE OF PAUL ERDOS

An exuberant and admiring portrait introduces the odd, marvelously nerdy, way cool Hungarian-born itinerant mathematical genius.

Heiligman’s joyful, warm account invites young listeners and readers to imagine a much-loved boy completely charmed by numbers. Paul Erdos was sweetly generous throughout his life with the central occupation of his great brain: solving mathematical problems. Unmoored from the usual ties of home and family once grown, he spent most of his career traveling the world to work with colleagues. Erdos was known for his ineptness at practical matters even as he was treasured, housed and fed by those with whom he collaborated in math. The polished, disarming text offers Pham free rein for lively illustration that captures Erdos’ childlike spirit. She uses a slightly retro palette and line to infuse Erdos’ boyhood surroundings with numbers and diagrams, conveying the idea that young Paul lived and breathed math. She populates his adulthood with his affectionate colleagues, even including a graph with Erdos at the center of several dozen of the great mathematical minds of the 20th century to illustrate the whimsical “Erdos number” concept. An extensive author’s note includes a bit more biographical information about Erdos and points to George Csicsery’s 1993 film N is a Number as well as to Heiligman’s website for links for further exploration. Pham’s illustrator’s note invites young readers to go page by page to learn about the kinds of numbers that captivated Erdos and to meet him among his cherished mathematicians.

Social learners and budding math lovers alike will find something awesome about this exceptional man. (Picture book/biography. 3-9)

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59643-307-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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Outstanding—a breath of fresh air, just like Rocket herself.

ROCKET SAYS LOOK UP!

Rocket is on a mission…to get her angst-y teen brother to put down his cellphone and look up.

An aspiring astronaut, Rocket makes it a point to set up her telescope and gaze at the stars every night before bedtime. Inspired by Mae Jemison, Rocket, a supercute black girl with braids and a coiffed Afro, hopes to be “the greatest astronaut, star catcher, and space walker who has ever lived.” As the night of the Phoenix meteor shower approaches, Rocket makes fliers inviting everyone in her neighborhood to see the cosmic event at the park. Over the course of her preparations, she shares information about space-shuttle missions, what causes a meteor shower, and when is the best time to see one. Jamal, Rocket’s insufferable older brother, who sports a high-top fade and a hoodie, is completely engrossed in his phone, even as just about everybody in the neighborhood turns up. The bright, digital illustrations are an exuberant celebration of both space and black culture that will simultaneously inspire and ground readers. That the main characters are unapologetically black is made plain through myriad details. Rocket’s mother is depicted cornrowing her daughter’s hair with a wide-toothed comb and hair oil. Gap-toothed Rocket, meanwhile, makes her enthusiasm for space clear in the orange jumpsuit both she and her cat wear—and even Jamal’s excited by the end.

Outstanding—a breath of fresh air, just like Rocket herself. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9442-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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