2021 National Math Festival: Mathical Author Events

We’re delighted that so many Mathical fans of all ages joined us December 9-10, 2020 for the first online events of the 2021 National Math Festival, featuring live Mathical author readings and special guests. These recording are available to watch through December 2020. (Check them out before the new year begins!)

We’ve also compiled a list of resources and other useful links that were shared by the presenters and questions from our audience members for any educators, librarians, or parents who wish to further explore some topics — read on!


Tweens and Teens Take on Mathical (December 9, 2020)

* This recording’s public availability has expired due to copyright restrictions. Thank you to those who joined us live or viewed the recording in December 2020. We encourage you to check out the titles contained at your local bookstore or library!

Solving for M by Jennifer Swender
When Mika starts middle school in the fifth grade, her neat life gets messy. Separated from old friends and starting new classes, Mika is far from her comfort zone. And math class is the most confusing of all. Art in math? Who’s ever heard of such a thing?

DK Life Stories: Katherine Johnson by Dr. Ebony Joy Wilkins
In this engaging youth biography, Wilkins tells the inspiring story of Katherine Johnson, famed NASA mathematician who helped the United States put the first person on the moon, and one of the subjects of the best-selling book and movie Hidden Figures.

Slay by Brittney Morris (Pre-Recorded)
Immerse yourself in the story of Kiera Johnson, a 17-year-old self-taught computer programmer and video game developer. Kiera has tutored her classmates in mathematics for years, but can she solve the equation of figuring out who she is as a Black girl with a secret online identity?

Three mathematics educators, all with #BlackInMathWeek, join us for special commentary on Slay and Afrofuturism:

Dr. Candice Price, Smith College, Mathematically Gifted and Black
Dr. Noelle Sawyer, Southwestern University
Michole Enjoli, PhD student, University of Michigan, and part of stemulationescaperoom.org.

This event was hosted by Kirsten Bohl (National Math Festival / Mathematical Sciences Research Institute), with Dr. Trena Wilkerson (President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, NCTM) and Dr. Tiffany Rehbein (Secondary Section Chair, National Council of Teachers of English, NCTE).

Little Ones Rule with Mathical (December 10, 2020)

* This recording’s public availability has expired due to copyright restrictions. Thank you to those who joined us live or viewed the recording in December 2020. We encourage you to check out the titles contained at your local bookstore or library!

Pigeon Math by Asia Citro

Telling a story about pigeons should be simple. But what’s a narrator to do when the number of feathered friends is constantly changing? Can our intrepid storyteller use math facts to keep up with the unstable quantities. . . or is this pigeon-centric tale doomed?

Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant by Songju Ma Daemicke

How much does an elephant weigh? How would you know if you didn’t have a modern scale? Six-year-old Cao Chong, the most famous child prodigy in Chinese history, faced just this problem! Chong watches as the prime minister’s advisors debate different methods.

Nothing Stopped Sophie by Cheryl Bardoe

When her parents took away her candles to keep their young daughter from studying math…nothing stopped Sophie. And when she tackled a math problem that male scholars said would be impossible to solve…still, nothing stopped Sophie.

This event was hosted by Kirsten Bohl (National Math Festival / Mathematical Sciences Research Institute), with Dr. Robert Berry (Past President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, NCTM) and Sarah Miller (National Council of Teachers of English, NCTE).

Additional Resources

Thank you to our authors, special guests, and partners at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) for sharing these with us!

Title-specific resources inspired by your questions: 

DK Life Stories: Katherine Johnson

You can read NASA’s official biography of Katherine Johnson to learn more about her work.

Nothing Stopped Sophie

How to try Sophie Germain’s experiments with vibrations and sand patterns at home:

Resources from #BlackInMath Week guests:

Author Websites:

More about the National Math Festival:

You can find the 2021 Festival schedule of events here!

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