Big news! Natural Math is ready to publish our next book, Ying and the Magic Turtle – and with your help, this can happen soon. Ying and the Magic Turtle is a story book about mathematics, problems solving and the rewards that come with perseverance. As in all Natural Math books, you can expect beautiful, advanced concepts made accessible to everyone in kind ways.
We just started the book’s crowdfunding campaign. Visit the campaign to watch a video invitation, see sample illustrations and layouts, and learn how this book can enhance your children’s mathematics at home, math circle, or school. Please contribute to the campaign and help us spread the word. Thanks to parents and teachers like you, who support Natural Math authors, this small indie publisher can keep offering unique materials with the open Creative Commons license. Of course, there are special prizes for every supporter, from your name in the book to group packages.
We at Natural Math were thrilled when Dr. Sue Looney, a veteran mathematics educator and provider of professional development, approached us with the book’s concept: retell an ancient legend about magic squares as a children’s story. We want to see many more mathematical story books like Life on the Infinite Farm (infinity), Anno’s Magic Seeds (exponential growth), and Funville Adventures (functions and functionals).
“Long ago in the land of China, there were many rain storms … and the land of China was slowly sinking into the sea. This is the story of how a wise emperor, an observant girl, and a magic turtle saved the villages of China from the great flood.” So begins the story. I wish I read it as a young child, so I could pretend-play to be Ying, saving my land – with math!
Children ages 5 and up, parents, and teachers can enjoy the book for its rich beauty in mathematics and as an ancient legend. It is the kind of story to revisit over and over again. This book is perhaps best experienced with someone, as a read-aloud or read-together. When reading, we learn of Ying’s trouble, and we root for her to find her solution. We find ourselves drawn into the life problems that Ying is facing, but also drawn into the inherent mathematics of the story. It is through the beauty of the pattern of the dots on the turtle’s shell that the solution is finally found and the land is saved.
We can appreciate each scene as we read, and then pause and predict what might come next. We can play with the mathematics, solving right alongside Ying. We can delve deeper into the power of magic squares by working with puzzles presented at the end of the story. Best yet, there are unsolved problems in number theory even a young child can try, such as finding all the possible magic squares of a given size.
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