Written by: Amy Alznauer
Illustrated by: Daniel Miyares
For ages: 5-9 years
Language: English, some Tamil
Topics Covered: History, Historical Figures, Mathematics, Own Voices, STEM, India, Trailblazers.
This story tells the early life of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who changed mathematics and science globally in the early 1900’s. Ramanujan was a child known for asking big and abstract questions, and when teachers didn’t appreciate his big thinking, he snuck away. Did you know that his notebooks helped scientists discover things about black holes, string theory, and computers? Eventually, Ramanujan is invited to England to work, and collaborated with many great minds of the day.
I enjoyed learning about a historical figure that has impacted how we tackle these STEM subjects today, but that I had never heard of. The author is also a mathematician, and I think having Amy’s expertise and research creates a more comprehensive story. It’s very realistic too, Ramanujan isn’t hailed as a genius immediately and uplifted as the premier voice on numbers from childhood. He in fact has a lot of difficulty being taken seriously and getting a job doing what he wants, but Ramanujan perseveres. This is also an incredibly important takeaway from the story besides learning about the mathematician himself.
In the back is a lengthy author’s note and a bibliography. The author empowers readers to make their own great discoveries as well! This book was sent to us by Candlewick Press, but all opinions are our own!
Amy Alznauer lives in Chicago with her husband, two children, a dog and her four puppies, a parakeet, sometimes chicks and a part-time fish, but, as of today, no elephants or peacocks. Check back.
Her writing has won the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction, the Christopher Award, and the SCBWI-Illinois Laura Crawford Memorial Mentorship, and my essays and poetry have appeared in collections and literary journals including The Bellingham Review, Creative Nonfiction and River Teeth.
Amy has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She teaches calculus and number theory classes at Northwestern University. Amy is the managing editor for the SCBWI-IL Prairie Wind. And I’m the writer-in-residence at St. Gregory the Great, where she has a little office in a big building with a bad internet connection, so she might actually get some work done (in theory).
Daniel Miyares is a critically acclaimed picture book author and illustrator. Some of his books include: Float, Night Out, That is My Dream, and Bring Me A Rock!. Daniel has been called “…a master of visual storytelling.”– Jody Hewston, Kinderlit, and “…enchanting, versatile” – The New York Times. He believes that our stories have the power to connect us all. Daniel’s story currently takes place in Lenexa, KS with his wife, their two wonderful children, and a dog named Violet that gives them all a run for their money.
Some of his partners have included: Schwartz & Wade Books, Chronicle Books, Candlewick Press, Simon & Schuster BFYR, Nancy Paulsen Books, FSG (BYR), North/South Books, Charlesbridge Publishing, and The NY Times.