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The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  909 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
A perfect introduction to mathematical concepts for young readers, written by a Newbery honor-winning author!
This colorfully illustrated biography of the Greek philosopher and scientist Eratosthenes, who compiled the first geography book and accurately measured the globe's circumference, is just right for budding mathematicians, scientists, historians, and librarians! Fil
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: math-integration
How I have used this book in the classroom...

My 5th graders loved this book. It's long for a read aloud in a math classroom (you usually don't want to spend half the class reading), but I found it was worth it. The students had to understand circumference and pi. After reading the book, we tried to determine the circumference of an orange using Archimedes' method. Next, they went on the playground and drew giant circles. I had the students make a table that labeled the circumference, diameter,
Laura Verret
When I saw the spine of this book at a library sale, I stuck it in my pile without even really looking at it. After all, it would only cost ten cents. It wasn’t until I got it home that I realized what I’d bought. And that was…

A picture book biography of a Greek man I’d never actually heard of, but who turns out to be a pretty epic guy. The man is Eratosthenes.

Like I said, I’d never heard of him. But, as it turns out, I should have. Because he tutored the son of Ptolemy III, ruler of Egypt, and
Karen Witzler
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Eratosthenes and the Well at Syene.
Apr 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid
Great historical science book for ages 6 and above. It is a picture book, but covers a lot of information without being *too* text heavy on any one page. The story of Eratosthenes is interesting and his curiosity is very inspirational. My son was absolutely riveted by this book, but he is really into anything mathematical. If your child likes math concepts, this is a great narrative which features higher level math in an interesting and unintimidating way.
Rob Chappell
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As far back as I can remember, I've been fascinated with astronomy and geography. During my childhood days, I read everything I could find on astronomy -- that wonderful subject that my mother described as "a subject that's over everyone's head" (an unintentional pun, because she's VERY clever!). During my teens, I became interested in the history of astronomy, too, so this book about Eratosthenes -- one of my favorite astronomers from antiquity -- was a real treat. In its pages, we learn about ...more
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was an INCREDIBLE book!!!!! My, but those Greeks were amazing! I read this book to my 4th grader and 8th grader and we were challenged by the mathematical concepts, but LOVED digging into it. Arcs and angles and distance and circumference all add up to a really exciting story of how a brilliant Greek man in the 3rd century BC was able to figure out how to measure the circumference of the Earth. Intriguing! ready to dig into a few mathematical/geometry principles...if you have a ...more
May 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Most people think of math as 2+2 or 12 - 5...boring. But this book shows how math actually impacts the world and our lives. In ancient times with no computers, calculators, satellites (end of the world, right?!) Arasthenes managed to use mathematical calculations to measure the circumference of the earth...without even traveling all over the world! How'd he do it? That little thing that is a terror to little kids and yet has helped our world tremendously - math. Interested now? you better be...p ...more
Mar 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: info-bios
Erosthenes, born in ancient Greece was able to figure out the earth's circumference within 200 miles of the correct measurement by today's sophisticated measurement tools. What a feat, indeed! I had never heard of this brilliant Greek before. And the way he figured out the earth's circumference was amazing. I'm not a math person, but he certainly was. Students will enjoy this picture book because of the great pictures as well as the interesting facts about Erosthenes. I would use it when studyin ...more
You can't get much closer to "living math" than when you read about real, live people who used math to do amazing things! Although this book is LONG for a read-aloud picture book, and is more suited to the older child who enjoys being read to (my eight-year-old was immersed in the story, but my six-year-old was a bit wriggly), it's a great living math book simply because Eratosthenes LOVED math for his entire life, and he loved learning, and the book makes those facts very evocative.
Great book! Cool illustrations and a well-told story of Eratosthenes, who since he was very little loved to ask questions and wonder about things. Great mathematical concepts woven in in the later third of the book - angles, circumference, geometry in general - but doesn't feel overly "teachy" at all - it's just a great story. In fact, it was so good that my kids were slightly disbelieving that it was true. ;)

Read to two kids, ages 9 and 5.
Anne White
My kindergartner loved this one, a long time ago.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am going to be really, really picky about this amazing book. First, the good:
The denizens of the Ancient Mediterranean don't look like a bunch of Northern Europeans, and the main character (a North-African Greek) looks like a North African person, as he should. Representation's important!

Although I have some quibbles on minor points of scholarship, and this book predates Roller's biography of Eratosthenes and therefore is a little dated, the historical details are pretty darn good. The date gi
Title: The Librarian Who Measured the Earth
Arthor: Kathryn Lasky
Illustrator: Kathryn Lasky
Date of publication: 1994
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
ISBN: 0316515264
Number of Pages:48
Description/ Summary: Gr. K-2. This book describes the life and work of Eratosthenes, the Greek geographer and astronomer who accurately measured the circumference of the earth.

Theme:History, language, science, social inequalities, law, government

The tale starts to get interesting on page 30, when Erat
The Librarian who measurd the earth teaches not only math but science in history. Though i am not completely sure if this book is based on a true story i am sure that some of the event in it are. You dont even have to read the book to deduct the time and place. I have come to associate robes with greek and the subject matter a study of a time long past. Mostly the pictures blend into eachother but more often then not the main character in his actions are more defined to bring attention to the ma ...more
Christopher Clark
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Eratosthenes was a great thinker who lived over two thousand years ago. He loved to learn and was interested in writing, math, and geography. For many years he was a librarian at the Great Library of Alexandria. His loved of geography drove him to measure the size of the Earth, but he didn’t know how. By studying books at the Great Library, he found an answer and was able to measure the Earth accurately over two thousand years ago, and it was all possible because of his love of knowing and learn ...more
Tracey Melcher
Eratosthenes, an ancient Greek scholar and head librarian of the library at Alexandria, has always been inquisitive and intelligent. Years of study developed in him a particular interest in geography. Using his knowledge of science and mathematics, Eratosthenes decided to figure out the circumference of the Earth. Impressively, there was only a 200 foot difference between his final calculation and the actual circumference of the Earth. This story is commendable because it seeks to make ancient h ...more
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Kathryn Lasky is one of my favorite authors for kids, and this book did not disappoint. It is a nicely-illustrated biography picture book about Eratosthenes, the Greek who came up with a way to measure the circumference of the earth. It talks about his life, his intense curiosity about everything and finally the method he used to calculate the circumference of the earth (which was incredibly accurate by the way!). Given the content and calculations, even though it is a picture book, it suits upp ...more
Staphany Ramirez
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Oh goodness! This book will rock your world! This book in particular is neat due to the three subjects that are taught with in the same book. Inside this book the book mentions math, science and history. This book has a lot of events that are true and some that necessarily may not be completely true. The things that man was wearing I must say it reminded me of the Greek Gods. Throughout the book if you simply follow the pictures, you will fully understand the book. The pictures most definitely f ...more
Stephanie Field
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a historical fiction book that explains how Eratosthenes was able to calculate the circumference of the earth over 2000 years ago. He was a young Greek boy who was interested in the world and asked many questions. He was able to travel to Alexandria and learn a lot from the great museum there. His interest in the earth and in geography led to many great discoveries by Eratosthenes, including the circumference of the earth.
I really enjoyed this book because it provides math phrases
Gabrielle Blockton
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Date: September 2nd, 2014

Author: Kathryn Lasky; Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

Title: The Librarian Who Measured The Earth

Plot: A biographical picture-book based on Eratosthenes, an intelligent man who became the head librarian in the richest and wealthiest library in the world during the reign of Ptolemy III, ruler of Egypt whose true passion was understanding geography.

Setting: Cyrene, Athens, Alexandria

Characters: Eratosthenes, Ptolemy III

Point-of-View: Third-person

Theme: Knowledge

Style: Narrat
Intriguing illustrations and story telling illuminate the curiosity and achievements of Hellenistic Alexandria in general and Eratosthenes in specific.

My student resonated with Eratosthenes constant questioning. The narrative form helped him identify with ancient people as explorers of science and technology. In addition, the explanation of the amazing library at Alexandria helped him to see how the insights of one generation are built upon those that go before - WHEN the information from previ
Hailey Dellinger
I found this book very different from the other books I have found in my placements, but that is why I liked it so much! This is a great historical math book that would be for a long independent read for grades 1st and up. This book gives a better understanding for students to understand Pi and Circumference by a librarian who measured the earth with these units. You could use this to introduce measuring objects in the classroom and applying circumference and pi into the equation. Great way for ...more
This is an excellent picture book biography about Eratosthenes (275 BC - circa 194 BC), head librarian of the ancient library of Alexandria, Egypt. The most interesting part about this book is the story it tells of how Eratosthenes may have determine the circumference of the Earth within 200 miles of the measurements made in the 1980s/1990s with the use of modern technology, like satellite imagery and GPS. It's no wonder he is touted as the Father of Geography. His curiosity and love of informat ...more
Yasmin Gomez Geng
A biographical story about Eratosthenes, the man who figured out the circumference of the Earth, within two hundred miles.

The reader follows Eratosthenes through his childhood, learning about how most kids went to Athens to continue their education. The reader also learns about the math that Eratosthenes had to use in order to figure out the circumference of the Earth.

This book is a great mixture of history, science, and math in telling the story of Eratosthenes.

Grade: 2nd Grade to 5th Grade
Oct 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
What a great way to be introduced to the mathmetician Eratosthenes (I'd never heard of him before, but why is that not surprising? I dislike Math and don't know much about Greek history! Double fault!), whose work in discovering the measurement of our earth is a wonderful tale, even more because it's true. The drawings are charming, and the story is made easy enough that even I can understand it. (A good thing, since it's a Juvenile nonfiction book!) Really enjoyable.
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
Aside from the fact that even by the end of the book I couldn't consistently pronounce "Eratosthenes" correctly, my kids and I loved this one. Simple, thorough explanation of how Eratosthenes measured the circumference of Earth, and I love how it promotes following one's interests and continuing to research and ask questions even when the answers aren't readily available. I had no idea so much went on at the museum at Alexandria.
This is just the sort of book that I would love to put in the hands of a reader. The text is thorough and comprehensive, yet highly readable, while the illustrations are colorful and full of historical detail. Everything about this book shows that a lot of care and effort went into its creation. I really enjoyed the book from beginning to end. Additionally, it's an ideal book for building lessons in both math and science. Really impressive.
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
All three of us really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading it again. We learned a great deal from this tome -- such as Aristophanes was the creator (or at least credited with) of punctuation and grammar. The kids enjoyed learning about the mathematics employed in measuring the Earth and how accurate Eratostenes was with his final measurement. There was so much that I truly enjoyed about the book ... I sure I'll be re-reading it soon.
This is an interesting and colorful picture book biography describing the life of the Greek librarian, philosopher and scientist Eratosthenes, who compiled the first geography book and nearly perfectly measured the Earth's circumference two-thousand years ago (he was only off by approximately 200 miles).
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was an exceptional book combining studies of the Greeks, Math, and Geography under the disguise of a picture book. Such a great book for understanding real-world application of geometry and history. Great illustrations for young kids and engaging content for older kids who can actually follow all the math applications.
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Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Honor winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series.
She was born June 24, 1944, and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is married to Christopher Knight, with whom she lives in Massachusetts.

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