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# The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos

Most people think of mathematicians as solitary, working away in isolation. And, it's true, many of them do. But Paul Erdos never followed the usual path. At the age of four, he could ask you when you were born and then calculate the number of seconds you had been alive in his head. But he didn't learn to butter his own bread until he turned twenty. Instead, he traveled ar
...more

ebook, 48 pages

Published
June 25th 2013
by Roaring Brook Press
(first published January 1st 2013)

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## Community Reviews

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Aug 03, 2013
Deborah
added it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
books-by-buddies,
children-nonfiction

The subtitle of this book is "The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos"; it could as well be "an improbable topic for a picture book". So how does Deborah Heiligman manage to pull it off? This author of the awards-winning "Charles and Emma" has a unique talent for presenting biography, to all ages. She knows how to find a special "way in" to her subjects' lives, to find a story that hasn't been told before, and to give that story just the right structure and voice — creating a story that children or yo
...more

What I love most about The Boy Who Loved Math was that it really wasn’t about math. It’s about the boy. Paul Erdos was something, all right. A real “character.” Typically, I’ve come to think about the mathematically centric as people who are very logically minded, people who love rules. As you learn on the second page, Erdos was anything but.

We don’t get a tremendous amount of exposure to those who use math creatively. Most of our experience with math comes from math teachers, who are very ofte ...more

"I'm gonna be your number one"

-- Blondie, "The Tide is High"

"So Paul kept counting...

And thinking about numbers. One day when he was 4, Paul asked a visitor when her birthday was. She told him.

"What year were you born? he asked.

"She told him.

"What time?

"She told him.

"Paul thought for a moment.

"Then he told her how many seconds ...more

Aug 17, 2013
Dolly
rated it
liked it
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
older children and parents reading with them

This is an entertaining and informative book about the life of Paul Erdős. I had never heard of him before, but I was fascinated by the title and I was excited to read a book about a mathematician with our girls. The narrative is well-crafted; it provides a comprehensive biographical sketch of his life and several interesting incidents that help to show his mind and his character.

The illustrations by LeUyen Pham are terrific. I love the way that she incorporates math problems and numbers throug ...more

The illustrations by LeUyen Pham are terrific. I love the way that she incorporates math problems and numbers throug ...more

Jul 12, 2015
Kris Patrick
rated it
liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
young-hoosier-4-6-2015-2016

Like Hollywood, history has an A, B, C, and D-list. Trying to talk a kid into studying someone other than Walt Disney or Abe Lincoln for a biography project is the equivalent of talking them into taking the peas and carrots in the lunch line. Picture books about history's D-listers is a huge publishing trend, but they are a hard, hard sell to classroom teachers AND kids. I'm having a difficult time justifying these purchases when I'm given so little to spend.

Aug 28, 2013
Joan
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
biography requests about grade 3-4

I made the mistake of reading Betsy Bird's wonderful review of this book and now I realize I didn't really read this book at all competently. I really should go back and reread it. But for now, here is my review.

Erdos was one strange guy. He was an only child whose immediate associates (Mom and kind of a governess) danced attendance on him. For crying out loud, the guy never tried to butter his own bread until age 20. That is not age two. That is two zero, twenty. He was more or less home schoo ...more

Erdos was one strange guy. He was an only child whose immediate associates (Mom and kind of a governess) danced attendance on him. For crying out loud, the guy never tried to butter his own bread until age 20. That is not age two. That is two zero, twenty. He was more or less home schoo ...more

Jul 10, 2013
Tasha
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
picture-books,
nonfiction

Paul Erdos grew up loving math from a very young age. Growing up in Budapest, Hungary, Paul loved to think about numbers. Unfortunately, he didn’t love school with all of its rules, so he was homeschooled by Fraulein, his nanny, until he went to high school. Paul grew famous for his math but he still could not take care of himself and do his own laundry, cook his meals or even butter his own bread. So when at age 21 he was invited to go to England to work on his math, he was worried about whethe
...more

Here is where I have a problem, and really the only problem with the ...more

Paul Erdos was a brilliant mathematician. At the age of 4 he could tell ...more

Feb 19, 2016
Casandria
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
picture,
informational

Charming and interesting! Definitely for older elementary kids.

Jacob rates 4 stars, Ellie 2 stars, mom 3 stars

Jun 22, 2016
Jamie Sorenson
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
non-fiction-books

Subject: Math

Non-Fiction- "The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos"(Published June 25th 2013 by Roaring Brook Press (first published January 1st 2013)

Quote:

"He could always depend on numbers to be there and behave in the same way. Numbers folowed rules. He didn't like rules in life, but he liked rules in numbers."

Fiction: "Rufus Goes to School" by Kim T. Griswell, Valeri Gorbachev (Illustrator), (Published August 6th 2013 by Sterling Children's Books (first published August 1st ...more

Non-Fiction- "The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos"(Published June 25th 2013 by Roaring Brook Press (first published January 1st 2013)

Quote:

"He could always depend on numbers to be there and behave in the same way. Numbers folowed rules. He didn't like rules in life, but he liked rules in numbers."

Fiction: "Rufus Goes to School" by Kim T. Griswell, Valeri Gorbachev (Illustrator), (Published August 6th 2013 by Sterling Children's Books (first published August 1st ...more

Apr 27, 2016
Elizabeth Woodruff
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
children-s-literature

Paul Erdos grew up in Budapest, Hungary. There was something special about this little boy, he loved math. He not only loved math. Math was his life. He couldn't do normal things like butter bread, or do his laundry. All he could do was Math. He decided school wasn't for him. He still got an education, but he had to do so at home. Paul couldn't sit still. He loved to move around and meet other people who loved math. When Paul was 20 he decided to travel the world to meet other math geniuses like
...more

Here’s a great title that I would recommend to adults and children: The Boy who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös. Do you have ...more

Apr 06, 2015
Renee Clark
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
biographical-picture-book

I actually had never heard of this book or "Paul Erdos" before so I was interested to see what this was all about. Although he was very brilliant and knew so much about math, it was on a level that kids could understand. The book itself is a great introduction to math. I really like these illustrations and the way they work with the story. They are very detailed and are the perfect ratio to the words on each page. Heiligman did a good job with the structure and text of this story making it appea
...more

Dec 08, 2014
Carlos Gastelum
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
non-fiction-biography

Heiligman, D., & Pham, L. (2013) The boy who loved math: the improbable life of paul erdos. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press.

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos is a well written and colorfully illustrated children’s biography about Paul Erdos, a traveling mathematician who produced more documents than any other mathematician in the past. In the story the author Deborah Heiligman and illustrator Leuyen Pham combine math and numbers on each page to show how Paul becomes ...more

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos is a well written and colorfully illustrated children’s biography about Paul Erdos, a traveling mathematician who produced more documents than any other mathematician in the past. In the story the author Deborah Heiligman and illustrator Leuyen Pham combine math and numbers on each page to show how Paul becomes ...more

Readers are introduced to Paul as a child, readers see how smart and genius he was at such a young age. Numbers became Paul's best friend, and readers see why. We see how he loves negative and prime numbers and how his mind worked when he thought about math. As Paul grows up readers see how he invented his own way to live. However, readers also get the feel that Paul never grew up. W ...more

Personal Res ...more

Briefly, I learned that the number 1 is not a prime number and that the number 2 is a prime number--facts which I somehow missed in all my 18 years of schooling (K thru graduate school). I learned that this geniu ...more

The Boy Who Loved Math

The Nonfiction story book The Boy Who Loved Math is a story of a boy named Paul who loved math and came up with prime numbers and many other math theories in his life time. Paul Erdos was a true mathematician with an interesting life that was shortly displayed in this book. The twin text I chose to put with this book is Snowboy 1,2,3 by Joe Wahman copyright January 2013. This book is a primary counting to ten and then counting backwards from ten book that is ju ...more

2. Rationale: I chose this book because obviously it discusses math just like 'The Boy Who Loved Math'. I would read these together because it talks about one character, Paul, loving math and he would only talk about numbers and see numbers. The other character, Max, thought he was no good at math because he was the last to finish his timed math test. I would discuss how everyone learn at their own ...more

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Deborah Heiligman's second job was at the Scholastic News Explorer, the 4th grade classroom magazine. There discovered that she loved writing for children and she has never looked back.

After the birth of her two children she started to work as a freelancer. She has written 28 children's books as well as articles for numerous magazines including Ladies' Home Journal, Sesame Street Parents Guide, P ...more

More about Deborah Heiligman...
After the birth of her two children she started to work as a freelancer. She has written 28 children's books as well as articles for numerous magazines including Ladies' Home Journal, Sesame Street Parents Guide, P ...more

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