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The Cartoon Guide to AlgebraOk, I’ll admit that I’m a math geek. I love math. It was one of my favorite subjects in school, and I am looking forward to the day when my 4th and 5th graders venture into true algebra and trig so that I can relive some of the homework I enjoyed. But I know I’m in the minority. The very very small minority, which is where The Cartoon Guide to Algebra by Larry Gonick comes in.

This is part of a great series of guides to various subjects from physics to statistics, chemistry, history, and more. The Cartoon Guide to Algebra introduces the subject of algebra – and how and why it works – to those who may be less than comfortable with math. It starts out and continues in a very nonthreatening vein. There are multiple cartoons and graphics on every page that keep it from being too dense or feeling like a textbook.

Algebra is introduced with an explanation that it’s simply a continuation of arithmetic that is already comfortable and familiar. The why we need various concepts – from fractions because we don’t want to cut off our feet if they aren’t exactly 11 inches to negative numbers like if you owe someone money – is put in easy to understand analogies and examples that take the mystery (and thus, much of the fear?) out of it.

Each chapter introduces a new topic and is filled with explanations and examples, in many different forms, which is something that can and will help those with various learning styles. There are tables and charts, along with cartoons explaining concepts. There are examples of problems and verbal explanations. At the end of each chapter are sample problems for you to try to ensure you understand the concepts – and yes, there are answers for each of the problems at the back of the book to confirm that you really did get it. For the most part, you see simply the answer where I would love to see the steps to solving it for those inevitable times when you solve a problem incorrectly.

The book covers graphs and equations, rational and irrational numbers, problems with multiple unknowns, square roots, and quadratic equations, amongst other topics. It isn’t a replacement for a textbook, as my middle school math teacher husband (who does teach algebra himself and can’t wait until I “give” this book to him to keep) was quick to point out, but it wasn’t intended to be. It covers all the topics that he would cover in a year of Algebra I, though in a slightly different order from how he approaches it.

As my husband put it, “This is a nifty little book!”

Written by Michelle of Honest & Truly! who is doing her best to raise math-loving children and hopes this book will spread that appreciation for a great subject. See how she uses math every day – like in cooking! – on her blog Honest & Truly! and follow along with her on a Twitter where she is also @HonestAndTruly.

Email Author    |    Website About Michelle M.

Michelle is a freelance writer who is happy to not have a commute but still misses her marketing and product development jobs. She keeps busy with her 7 and 9 year old children, who fortunately love to read as much as she does. When she isn't reading or cooking - or doing laundry - you can find her on her blog Honest & Truly! or on Twitter as @Honest AndTruly.

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, a 5-Star Read

I’ve always enjoyed Kristin Hannah’s novels, and I’ve been waiting for her latest release for quite a while now. She’s outdone herself as it’s my favorite book of hers to date and my first 5 Star Read in quite some time. Quite a bit has come out recently about the role of women in the French resistance during the Nazi occupation, and while doing research on World War II, Hannah came across the story of a young woman who created an escape route out of France. That story, and many others, are the basis for the characters and events of The Nightingale. Viann and Isabelle are sisters who are very different, yet share a bond thanks to being abandoned by their father after the death of
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Superstars of History

I’m a huge history buff. I love getting all the references people make to history, and yes, history was one of my favorite subjects in school to the point that I was *thisclose* to having a history major in college, as well. My kids enjoy history, as well, but even in 4th and 5th grades, they haven’t gotten very much exposure to many history lessons in school. Superstars of History by R. J. Grant is just the ticket. This softcover book filled with illustrations covers many famous figures in history, and (rightly in my mind) details them starting with the most ancient and working up to the most recent “historical” figures. As with most history, this covers primarily men as women for so much of history
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Baltimore Blues

Laura Lippman is a well-known name in mystery-writers circles, and her tales of Tess Monaghan the reluctant P-I, written between 1997 and 2008, were hugely popular. However, over the last several years, she’s written a series of stand-alone books that didn’t involve the beloved detective. Her latest book, Hush Hush, brings us back to Tess’ life. In celebration, William Morrow Publishing has reissued the first of the Tess series, Baltimore Blues. We are introduced to Tess as a downsized reporter, approaching 30, living above her aunt’s bookstore and working part-time there and part-time for her uncle, who pays her out of his own pocket. She’s spinning her wheels in many areas–career, love, and even exercise, where she’s an enthusiastic but ultimately undisciplined rower who nonetheless
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My Father’s Wives

When I read All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg, I did so on a whim, as a fellow NU alum who loves sports. The book blew me away. I was shocked by how well a male author – let alone a male sports co-host – could create and relate to three very different female characters. I eagerly picked up his latest book My Father’s Wives, anticipating more of the same. Oddly, with a male protagonist, it was far less relateable than his previous effort. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t an enjoyable book or that I didn’t connect with Jonathan Sweetwater on some level, but it wasn’t blow me away good this time around. At 40 years old, Jonathan Sweetwater is an uber successful
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What’s on Your Nightstand, January 27

I’m having laptop problems with my cord, and shipping problems with the replacement I ordered, so I don’t really have time to wax poetic. We are having lovely spring-like weather here in Houston, which has had me spending some time in the backyard with my new puppy, book in hand. It’s probably my favorite kind of reading. I know some of you are expecting bad weather, which gives you another excuse to read. Whether it’s business as usual or something allows you to squeeze in some extra reading, we want to know what you are up to. Just leave a link below telling us what you’re reading, and be sure to visit around as well! Check out our current giveaways. Subscribe to our feed. Follow
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4 New Series to Share with Your Child Now

I read some great middle grade novels this year. I shared many of them with my son Kyle who loved them as well. Several of our favorites are first books in brand new series. I’ve featured four of them over at 5 Minutes for Mom today. If you click through, I hope you’ll find just the right book to put in the hands of a child you love.
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Citizen: Your Role in the Alternative Kingdom

Rob Peabody was just a normal American Christian, albeit of the professional variety. The lead campus pastor of a mega-church in the south, he was part of a growing church and excited to see many people coming every Sunday, and yet sensed that there was more out there, that he was somehow missing out. He realized his church and his faith had little connection with the world around him. And so he began to re-examine his Bible and Jesus’ teachings, began to reach out and connect with a Title I school just around the corner from his large church, and ultimately, ended up in London, England, where he’s helped start a new missional movement called “Awaken.” Citizen: Your role in the alternative kingdom traces his
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Wow! I liked Paddington #PaddingtonMovie

I received a gift card so that I could take my family to see the movie. I was also given the opportunity to interview Nicole Kidman. As always, my opinions are my own. Yes, that’s a “wow” of surprise. I’m not the only one who loved it. Check out these stars’ reactions: I’m not totally a movie snob. I enjoy children’s movies in general, but I wasn’t particularly looking forward to seeing Paddington. My 10-year-old son Kyle wanted to see it, and it opened last weekend, but it was a busy weekend, and it wasn’t a top priority for me. But then I had a last-minute opportunity to do a phone interview with Nicole Kidman, one of the movie’s stars, and so even though I
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Saving Grace

Grace Chapman appears to live a charmed life – married to a successful novelist, living in a beautiful home in the New York City suburbs, volunteering at a women’s shelter where she teaches the residents to cook. But looks can be deceiving and only a few of her closest friends and family know how volatile her husband, Ted, can be. Grace walks on eggshells, never knowing what Ted’s mood will be like. And only Ellen, their assistant of 15 years, can handle his temper. But Ellen has left her position to take care of her ailing mother and Grace is floundering without her. So when Grace meets Beth, a woman who seems perfect to take over for Ellen, it’s a dream come true, and Beth seamlessly
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World’s Worst Mom, Lenore Skenazy Comes to TV {Books on Screen}

Way back in 2008, Lenore Skenazy let her then 9-year-old son ride the subway alone, and her story prompted a fair level of public outrage. Her name became associated with the label “America’s Worst Mom,” but Lenore didn’t tuck her tail and fade away. Instead, she stuck with her gut and continued to pursue the idea that children are more capable than many imagine. The parental decision that her son was prepared and experienced enough to make a solo subway ride paved the way for a movement in modern parenting. The blog Free-Range Kids was born shortly after, and Skenazy’s 2009 book, Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) presented the main thesis of her viewpoint– kids need to be kids, but
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Enter to win Free-Range Kids, one of Jennifer’s and Dawn’s 5-Star Reads

Back in July 2009, Dawn and I each read and reviewed Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry by Lenore Skenazy. Our back and forth Q&A style review remains one of my favorites, not only because I am still recommending this book 5 1/2 years later, but because it continues to inform my parenting choices. Dawn had the opportunity to preview Lenore Skenazy’s new TV show (link is now live). Please check out her thoughts on World’s Worst Mom on TLC as well as a post at 5 Minutes for Mom featuring her interview with Skenazy: Have your parenting choices been questioned? I noticed that the paperback version (pictured above) has a slightly changed title which I like: Free-Range Kids, How
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