Saturday, August 1, 2020

The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity & Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom - Candlewick Press [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity: A Tale of the Genius Ramanujan by Amy Alznauer & illustrated by Daniel Miyares


My thoughts:  Conveying to young readers (or listeners) math conceptions and understanding in the least how a genius mind works visualizing unknown theoretical thinking is beyond my own comprehension. The story of Ramanujan reads like one of a boy who thinks in ways he does not understand nor do those adults in his environ. 

As it is today, so was it then...... often the highly intellectual are perceived as non-thinking non-conformists and who don't really fit into the scheme of things.

Ramanujan went through regular school and high school and entered university from which he left because he didn't get it right. But he continued to record his thoughts and these were pages and journals of numerical scribbling that no one understood. He sought to understand what small was and what large or biggest  is. He wondered about infinity though I am not sure he even was aware of this concept.

Some children will enjoy having this book read to them, but parents or teachers will need to lay some ground work and be ready to come up with an "infinity" of answers.

About the book: A young mathematical genius from India searches for the secrets hidden inside numbers -- and for someone who understands him -- in this gorgeous picture-book biography.

A mango . . . is just one thing. But if I chop it in two, then chop the half in two, and keep on chopping, I get more and more bits, on and on, endlessly, to an infinity I could never ever reach.

In 1887 in India, a boy named Ramanujan is born with a passion for numbers. He sees numbers in the squares of light pricking his thatched roof and in the beasts dancing on the temple tower. He writes mathematics with his finger in the sand, across the pages of his notebooks, and with chalk on the temple floor. "What is small?" he wonders. "What is big?" Head in the clouds, Ramanujan struggles in school -- but his mother knows that her son and his ideas have a purpose. As he grows up, Ramanujan reinvents much of modern mathematics, but where in the world could he find someone to understand what he has conceived?

Author Amy Alznauer gently introduces young readers to math concepts while Daniel Miyares's illustrations bring the wonder of Ramanujan's world to life in the inspiring real-life story of a boy who changed mathematics and science forever. Back matter includes a bibliography and an author's note recounting more of Ramanujan's life and accomplishments, as well as the author's father's remarkable discovery of Ramanujan's Lost Notebook.

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford & illustrated by  Michele Wood  


My thoughts:  I found it interesting that the author uses the number "6" in an interesting manner throughout the story and stanzas. The book opens with a six-word poem titled "Geometry." The poem is printed as a large numerical 6.

A box has six sides and is a cubic structure. The stanzas have six lines (these are non-rhyming lines of text). The author has also positioned a clear-cut timeline of slavery from 1815, the year in which Henry Brown was born, to 1897, the year in which he died though these are not the inclusive years of slavery - just the years that the slave, Henry Brown, lived.

This is a true story of a real person and his life.

Illustrated in a style that utilizes lots of squares and boxes in various sizes. This is, I feel certain, to subconsciously direct the mind to the fact that to escape slavery Henry Brown built a box and shipped himself away from slavery to a free state.

The story is deeply moving and brings to the reader's attention the desperate and dire circumstances of slaves. 

About the Book: In a moving, lyrical tale about the cost and fragility of freedom, a New York Times best-selling author and an acclaimed artist follow the life of a man who courageously shipped himself out of slavery.

What have I to fear?
My master broke every promise to me.
I lost my beloved wife and our dear children.
All, sold South. Neither my time nor my body is mine.
The breath of life is all I have to lose.
And bondage is suffocating me.

Henry Brown wrote that long before he came to be known as Box, he "entered the world a slave." He was put to work as a child and passed down from one generation to the next -- as property. When he was an adult, his wife and children were sold away from him out of spite. Henry Brown watched as his family left bound in chains, headed to the deeper South. What more could be taken from him? But then hope -- and help -- came in the form of the Underground Railroad. Escape!

In stanzas of six lines each, each line representing one side of a box, celebrated poet Carole Boston Weatherford powerfully narrates Henry Brown's story of how he came to send himself in a box from slavery to freedom. Strikingly illustrated in rich hues and patterns by artist Michele Wood, Box is augmented with historical records and an introductory excerpt from Henry's own writing as well as a time line, notes from the author and illustrator, and a bibliography.


GIVEAWAY
Begins August 1
Ends August 29 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses.
No P.O. Boxes & Canadian winners must provide phone number.
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

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