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Today we have some more of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague (Amazing Scientists) by Julia Finley Mosca and illustrated by Daniel Rieley tells the story of a woman who was denied the opportunity to become an engineer and went ahead and became one anyway.

Raye Montague wanted to design ships, but the college she went to wouldn't allow women into the engineering program. After studying business instead, she landed a job typing for the Navy. Working hard, she learned about computers and devised a program that could design a ship in much less time. Eventually she became an official engineer and took over as head of the department where she had started as a typist.

The rhyming text tells Montague's life story simply and effectively. Eight pages of back matter fill in many details and reveal Montague's "can do" philosophy in the face of a multitude of barriers. The back matter also includes a timeline with historical photographs and illustrations.

The Girl With a Mind for Math is a picture book biography of an upbeat and inspiring woman. Pick up a copy for reluctant readers and they might just catch Raye Montague's infectious spunk.

Age Range: 5 - 10 years
Publisher: The Innovation Press (September 4, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1943147426
ISBN-13: 978-1943147427

Because of the recent popular movie, you might be more familiar with the women featured in Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly and illustrated by Laura Freeman.

Author Margot Lee Shetterly wrote the original bestselling book, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, for adults. In this picture book for children, she gives a brief summary of each woman's career, interweaving their stories and at the same time emphasizing their similar struggles as human computers for NASA.

"Dorthy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math. Really good."

In the back Shetterly reveals that that she met many of the women when she was growing up in Hampton, Virginia.

Hidden Figures is a good introduction to these amazing women. It would be a great book to have on hand for both Black History Month and Women's History Month.

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: HarperCollins (January 16, 2018)
ISBN-10: 0062742469
ISBN-13: 978-0062742469

Want to read more? Check our growing list of children's books about women mathematicians at Science Books for Kids.

Disclosure: These books were provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Pi Day is coming up next week on March 14 (3/14), chosen because the first three digits of pi are 3.14... It is a fun way to celebrate the mathematical constant π and all things math.

Pi is based on the relationship (ratio) between circumference of a circle and its diameter. If you're a bit rusty in math, the diameter is a straight line segment that passes through the center of a circle and has endpoints on the circle. The circumference is the distance around the outside of the circle.

Public domain image by Kjoonlee, based on previous work by w:User:Papeschr at  Wikimedia

Pi was first established as the ratio of the circumference to the diameter.

π = C/d

It is a fascinating number because it is so useful, but it is also irrational. That means it is an infinite, non-repeating decimal.

Pi Day activities can run the gamut from serious to seriously lighthearted.

Public domain image of a Pi Day pie

You might want to check out

One great way to celebrate Pi Day is to read a book about math. We maintain a list of children's math books for Pi Day and every day at Science Books for Kids. Let's add some recent releases to the list:

Goodnight, Numbers by Danica McKellar and illustrated by Alicia Padron is for children who are learning their numbers.

Danica McKellar is not just another celebrity using their fame to hawk children's books. She is a serious mathematician whose goal is to get kids excited about math through books and videos. Her first books were for middle and high school aged kids. Now she's writing for the youngest set.

You can see what she has to say in this book trailer:

Age Range: 2 - 5 years
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (March 7, 2017)
ISBN-10: 110193378X
ISBN-13: 978-1101933787

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math.  This is Not Another Math Book by Anna Weltman and ilustrated by‎ Charlotte Milner is a perfect choice for older kids who want to explore art as a way to understand math.

Author Anna Weltman has created an imaginative series of hands-on projects that include exploring symmetry by drawing kaleidoscopic patterns, growing a forest of fractal trees, and assembling five-square pentomino shapes into pictures.

Ages: 9+
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Kane Miller Books / EDC Publishing; First American edition (2018)
ISBN-10: 1610675975
ISBN-13: 978-1610675970

For the full list, see children's math books for Pi Day and every day at Science Books for Kids.