So many stories for kids include characters who hate maths! This is something I noticed when I was growing up, and again when my kids were young. This is especially true with female characters.
I found this attitude to maths strange as I enjoyed maths and found it really easy. From the books I was reading, I learned to be scared of algebra, thinking it was the hardest maths I would ever encounter… when I started learning algebra, it was actually incredibly easy and straightforward. I couldn’t understand every second character in books and on TV would complain about algebra.
Any character that was good at maths was depicted as a total nerd. They were unpopular, wore daggy glasses, and were teased mercilessly. They were not the characters to aspire to. The ones to aspire to were the ones who hated maths.
There has been a lot of talk about getting kids interested in STEM. There are all sorts of programs designed to engage kids, especially girls, in STEM. I wonder if there were more stories that featured kids who enjoyed STEM subjects instead of them constantly complaining about maths, and algebra, that may go a long way to move STEM out of the realm of nerds and into mainstream, and get kids interested.
I know there are some books that are starting to come out, however the sorts of books I’m thinking of are the general ‘kids at school’ type stories, similar to the Kick Like a Girl books by Jo Stanley that feature girls who just love playing AFL football. This series went a long way to normalising girls playing football.
We need more books that feature kids who enjoy maths and algebra as well as do things like play football, and not be social outcasts. Maths doesn’t have to be as hard as many stories make it out to be. I know I would have loved reading more stories about kids who enjoyed maths rather than dreading their maths classes every day…
If you know of any books that fit this criteria, please let me know. I’d love to check them out.
Published on July 10, 2021 | Blog
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