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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 June 11th 2013)

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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
3 of 5 stars
·
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

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

Shelves:
children-nonfiction,
books-by-buddies

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

Aug 28, 2013
Joan
rated it
4 of 5 stars
·
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
5 of 5 stars
·
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

Dec 08, 2014
Carlos Gastelum
rated it
4 of 5 stars
·
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

Rationale: A young boy who has just moved to a new neighborhood is encouraged to go outside and meet new people. Thanks to his cleverness he comes up with a plan that allows him to meet a lot of new people and gets them all to help him out at the same time. The story of a resourceful young man who makes the best of a situation that he could choose to find the worst in draws a lot of parallels to my nonfiction text The Boy Who Loved Math. Paul Erd ...more

Dec 09, 2014
Claudia Hall
rated it
4 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
children-s-picture-books,
t-l307

The story is a children’s revision of a biography of Erdos’ life from childhood until death. The book explains how Erdos loved math so much he made it his career and traveled the world teaching and sharing math with many other professional mathematicians like him self. The story also, incorporates math facts that children reading this book may be learning in school at the moment, which is a great way to engage and inspire students.

This book shares facts about Paul Erdos as a way to engage stud ...more

This book shares facts about Paul Erdos as a way to engage stud ...more

I had actually learned about Paul Erdos from a RadioLab episode about Math/numbers, a while back... It's a great episode, and the Paul Erdos story is cool and fascinating.

This book warrants re-reading, as it is beautiful and there is a lot packed in to the illustrations and words/symbols p ...more

Now before people are scared away: the maths is entirely optional. Some of the things Erdös thought about are woven into the illustrations, but you can read the story without mentioning it much. Then you'll only read that as a young kid Erdös was amazed that numbers can be ...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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Nov 23, 2013 06:18PM