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Women Who Count

Shelly M. Jones
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
Geoffrey Dietz
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When one of the editors of the MAA Reviews asked me to review the book Women Who Count I was happy to do so, but I was concerned that I was not the best person to write this review. So, I recruited my 11-year-old daughter Rachel to read the book, work on the activities, and then offer her impressions. Here’s what Rachel has to say:

Women Who Count is about people who like mathematics, specifically highlighting African-American women. I liked reading about all of these people. Many of them were born over 100 years ago, and many of them are still working today. For example, I liked the story about how Dr. Christine Mann Darden worked for NASA starting in the 1960s and how she also raised a family and was a Sunday school teacher. I also liked Dr. Tasha Inniss’ advice to “Never give up” and “Perseverance is the key.” I liked the fact that Dr. Erica Walker works with math and is also an author since I would also like to be an author someday.

I liked the activities spread throughout the book. I really liked the Lemon Pi(e), Mystery Shape Equations, Integer Race, What’s the Word, and Fun with Magic Squares. My favorite was the logic puzzle in the Brain Buster. I liked how the book contained a mixture of stories about people and activities that challenged me. I even learned something new, as I did not know about Euler graphs, paths, and circuits. I also learned the right way to pronounce Euler. While many of the activities can be done by younger readers, such as third graders, they may need some help with negative numbers or exponents. They should be able to learn something new too. Older readers should enjoy them as well.

The way the book is made would be best enjoyed by reading and working on it over multiple days instead of trying to read it all and work it all out in one long sitting. Overall, I liked and enjoyed the book and would recommend it to other young readers. Even people who do not think they like math much should learn something from reading the stories.

Rachel Dietz is a home-schooled 11-year-old who enjoys mathematics, art, reading, and playing with her siblings. She hopes to be an author when she grows up. Geoffrey Dietz is a Professor of Mathematics at Gannon University in Erie, PA. He is married and has six children.