Two new books came into our hands recently. They have both captured the attention of my boys. The first, "What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions" by Randall Munroe, is an offshoot of his popular website. Readers post crazy questions, and as the subtitle states, he answers them with detailed, scientifically based answers. The format looks like this:
As you can see, the questions are all over the place: If everyone on the planet stayed away from each other for a couple of weeks, wouldn't the common cold be wiped out? How much Force power can Yoda output? Is there enough energy to move the entire current human population off-planet?
The answers are not only funny and engaging, they teach a lot about math and science along the way. Munroe is most famous for his webcomic xkcd, and his book is filled with funny stick-figure illustrations. If your boys are anything like mine, they will be inspired to come up with their own absurd questions and answers. I would recommend it for third grade on up.
The second book, "Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension" by comedian Matt Parker, explores and revisits complex math principles in a fun, accessible format. Parker asserts that math allows us to access logic beyond our own capabilities. And of course he wants to convince the reader that math is an invaluable piece of our everyday lives. Filled with illustrations, the book touches on hundreds of ideas, from how to slice a cube and build a computer, to how to tie your shoes mathematically.
This book is geared toward older teens and adults, but younger kids with an interest in math will find it extremely readable. It was a gift for my 13-year-old and he loves it.
My husband and I are revisiting: "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and LIsten so Kids Will Talk" by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. I think it is, hands-down, the best book on communicating between parents and children (and really, among all people.)
We are memorizing Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
What are you reading/listening to as a family?