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For Families » Math-Oriented Books » For Experienced Readers

A Gebra Named Al: A Novel
by Wendy Isdell, Wendy Isdell [Editor]
Free Spirit Publishing [August 1993]
ISBN: 091579358X

Mathematical Subject[s]: Algebra

Julie is frustrated. Nothing in algebra class is going her way. Downhearted, she puts her head down on her desk and drifts to sleep. When she awakens, she’s in a much different place – the Land of Mathematics. Befriended by a gebra (zebra) named Al and horses whose names are scientific elements, she tries to make her way home—through the Order of Operations, Exponent, the contrasting lands of Multiplication and Division, Addition Mountain, and the Valley of Subtraction. But the door back to ordinary life can’t be found until she finds just the right equation. Readers learn—along with Julie—that numbers really are a powerful and useful part of every person’s life.

The Annotated Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
by Edwin Abbott Abbott, introduction by Ian Stewart
Perseus Publishing [December 4, 2001]
ISBN: 0738205419

Mathematics Subjects: Measurement & Geometry

E. A. Abbot’s Flatland has entertained and educated readers for many years, recounting the adventures of A2 or A. Square, a two-dimensional being who is suddenly transported to The Land of Three Dimensions. Ian Stewart adds other dimensions to this classic, offering tidbits about Abbot and those in his circle while tracing the development of geometric forms and dimensions.

Conned Again, Watson! Cautionary Tales of Logic, Math, and Probability
by Colin Bruce
Perseus Publishing; 1st edition [January 15, 2002]
ISBN: 0738205893

Mathematics Subject[s]: Mathematical Reasoning, Measurement & Geometry, Statistics, Data Analysis, & Probability

Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson rise again, this time to tackle twelve mathematical mysteries with cunning and aplomb. This time, evil is afoot in the form of the unfortunate businessman, the gambling nobleman, and the perfect accountant, among others. And all it takes is superb logic—and a vast knowledge of probability, statistics, decision and gaming theories—to put their dastardly plans to rest. Luckily, Holmes is up to the task. Each case serves to demonstrate that there has never been a more a more interesting way to learn how to spot a scam artist or take a calculated (but mathematically assured) risk.

The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics
By Norton Juster
Seastar Publishing Company [2001]
ISBN: 1587170663

Mathematics Subject[s]: Measurement & Geometry

It’s a love triangle, pure and simple, between a straight line, a red dot, and a lazy squiggle. Readers can’t help but uncover some geometric truths as they follow the story, watching as the line learns to change into different shapes in order to attract the dot’s attention away from the squiggle.

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
by Edwin A. Abbott, Edwin A. Abbott, Edwin Abbott Abbott
Rowman & Littlefield Publishing 5th edition [June 1, 1964]
ISBN: 0451518411

Mathematics Subjects: Measurement & Geometry

In this fantasy, A. Square (A2), a mathematician and resident of two-dimensional Flatland, journeys to Spaceland (three dimensions), Lineland (one dimension), and Pointland (no dimensions). Only when he conjectures a world of four dimensions is he able to return to Flatland and its convoluted customs, which mirror the social structure in the author’s native Victorian England. A complex story that stretches the mind mathematically, Flatland remains a classic of mathematical fiction. Read an online copy of the text.

Flatterland: Like Flatland, Only More So
by Ian Stewart
Perseus Publishing [April 10, 2001]
ASIN: 0738204420

Mathematical Subject[s]: Algebra, Mathematical Analysis, Measurement & Geometry

Victoria Line (Vikki to her friends) is a perfectly ordinary teenager (even if she is only two-dimensional). Her great-great-grandfather was A. Square (of Flatland fame). When she uncovers his diary in the attic, she inadvertently steps into a far different world called Mathiverse—with its eleven dimensions—accompanied by a creature named Space Hopper. Traveling through this strange world and meeting such odd characters as Schrodinger’s Cat and Moobius the one-sided cow, Vikki explores the mysteries of modern mathematics and science, including time travel, quantum physics, and black holes. Part Alice in Wonderland and part modern mathematics textbook, Flatterland does great justice to its literary antecedent Flatland.

Imaginary Numbers: An Anthology of Marvelous Mathematical Stories, Diversions, Poems, and Musings
by William Frucht
John Wiley & Sons [September 1999]
ISBN: 0471332445

Mathematics Subject[s]: Algebra, Mathematical Reasoning, Measurement & Geometry, Number Sense, Statistics, Data Analysis, and Probability

Imaginary Numbers: An Anthology of Marvelous Mathematical Stories, Diversions, Poems, and Musings is an intriguing title for a collection of equally intriguing works by a variety of noted authors, both past and present. Touching on a variety of basic and modern mathematics, these works by the likes of Edwin Abbott, Lewis Carroll, Italo Calvino and others offer something for every reader and skill level. As editor William Frucht offers, “Using mathematics to tell stories and using stories to explain mathematics are two sides of the same coin.”

The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures
by Malba Tahan, illustrated by Patricia Reid Baquero, translated by Leslie Clark and Alastair Reid
W.W. Norton & Company [February 1993]
ISBN: 0393309347

Mathematics Subject[s]: Mathematical Reasoning, Number Sense

In this Arabian Nights-style book, readers travel through the Middle East and see how one Persian sage uses mathematics to solve family disputes, thwart dangerous enemies, and win the heart of the princess. Brazilian mathematician Julio de Melo e Sousa first offered the book in 1949, claiming he had translated it from the works of math genius Beremitz Samir. This fictional character is indeed a mastermind, cleverly using number sense and mathematical reasoning to right the wrongs he finds in his world.

A Mathematical Mystery Tour: Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the Cosmos
by A. K. Dewdney
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. [1999]
ISBN: 0471407348

Mathematics Subject[s]: Algebra, Calculus, Mathematical Analysis, Measurement & Geometry

Did we create mathematics, or did the laws of mathematics create everything in the universe, including us? That’s the primary question that drives this exploration, a theoretical world tour with visits to characters such as the fictional Dr. Petros Pygonopolis in Miletus, Pythagorus’ home and Professor Jusuf al-Flayli, an expert on ancient Islamic astronomy, who talks about the mathematical secrets of the night sky as the narrator and he travel through the desert by camel. Within the four stops on this tour, Dewdney, a computer science professor, finds that the quest of the answers is probably as important as the answers themselves.