February 6 Day 700: Small World

This morning, I received a message from a mathematical friend that made me smile. Apparently her son is in the middle school math class that is reading a current draft of my book.

Let me back up. Last Fall I posted September 18 Day 559: A Labor of Love in which I shared that I had finally finished writing my middle grade novel. I asked for early readers to give me feedback. One volunteer, Mac Smith, a friend of my husband’s and now a friend of mine, teaches math in Salem, Oregon. He is reading the book with his class.

Fast forward to this morning when Erin McNicholas, mathematician at Willamette University, messaged on Facebook to say “I just found out today that my son’s middle school math class is reading an advanced copy of your book. I mentioned magic squares and he said ‘I know what those are, we’re reading a book with lots of cool math things in it.'” She later related that two of the three things her son has shared about school the entire year were topics from the book. I will take that as a positive endorsement.

You might recall that my youngest son is a freshman at Willamette. He had Dr. McNicholas as his instructor last fall. So apparently we have had a mathematical impact on one another’s sons.

The cover image is from the Gathering 4 Gardner Celebration of Mind presentation that I gave in October 2021. The talk included how the placemaking art in Sunnyside Piazza, Portland OR inspired me to write the book. The recording was posted last week to the G4G YouTube channel. I highlight places and people that publicly play and display puzzles, patterns, and problems to create a positive attitude towards math. By no means an exhaustive list, these places (and the people involved) have inspired me to do more. Maybe they will inspire you too.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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