RevieWs: Mathematician Biography Gems

Mathematicians Are People, Too V1 and V2 by Luetta and Wilbert Reimer. For all ages.

This is the series that started Living Math History for us. Each story is short, just about eight pages, and focuses on the interesting aspects of the lives of a mathematician. Women mathematicians are features in each book as well. The stories can be read aloud to younger child, or read alone by a child approximately 8 or 9 and up. As a parent, this book opened my eyes to the fact that math was a very human activity with a rich history. Highly recommended. 

Senefer: A Young Genius in Old Egypt by Beatrice Lumpkin, for approximately ages 6 to 10 

Beatrice Lumpkin is one of the few well-known authors on African mathematics in antiquity.

This really is a wonderfully rich picture book for Egyptian ancient history, culture, and math. The math moves from easy to some sophisticated ideas such as the Egyptian method of multiplication using the binary doubling sequence, so it has applicability to a very wide age range. Even as an adult I enjoyed it, the text is well-written, not dumbed down. Illustrations are excellent. One of the best math history picture books I've seen.

Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein by Don Brown

This is the first picture book about Einstein that I have seen and enjoyed. It really is wonderfully written and illustrated to capture the most interesting parts of his life, without skipping the important ones :o)

For example, "The Einsteins move to the large city of Munich. There, Albert's parents encourage his independence and take the unusual step of allowing four year old Albert to wander the streets unattended." Accompanied by a 2-page illustration showing a bustly town and little Albert standing there . . .