Friday, 21 August 2015

Fab Maths Books for Kids by Johnny Ball

Johnny Ball was a popular UK children's TV personality when I was growing up. He presented energetic, funny and interesting programs about maths, science and technology. He's one of the reasons I studied maths.

For our US readers I guess Johnny Ball is a bit like Bill Nye. There's nothing quite like Johnny Ball available for kids today, well except Johnny Ball if you're lucky enough to get to a live show! Today we got to see a talk about maths for kids by Johnny Ball. It was part of the reading challenge at our local library. It was for kids, but there was a strong sense of nostalgia for the adults.

The talk reminded me about the fabulous maths books for children that Ball has written in recent years, and I'm pleased to see that there are new editions coming in Jan 2016 which are available to pre-order.

Johnny gave a fabulous talk about practical maths which included lots of history and clever maths 'tricks', many of which I knew about as a child (probably thanks to Johnny Ball), but had forgotten about. There was lots of engineering and physics in the talk too with practical demonstrations. Really engaging hands-on stuff. My kids came out really enthused and wanting to learn some of the tricks and learn more interesting maths. My younger son loves maths, but my older son is rarely this enthusiastic about it - the links to history were perfect for him. We ended up discussing ancient Egyptian multiplication and binary numbers at the dinner table.

Johnny Ball's Maths Books

Johnny Ball has written two maths books for kids in recent years. We have one of them and it's fantastic, and I've just ordered the other one after today's show.

We've got Mathmagicians (published in the US as Why Pi?) It's a gorgeous book with brightly coloured illustrations and loads of fun facts and explanations, many of them from history. It was our chosen bedtime reading today.

The other book is Think of a Number (Go Figure! in the US) and covers more maths topics in the same style.

It looks like there are new editions of these books coming out in 2016 which is excellent news. These are available to pre-order.

UK Editions

US Editions

But if you can't wait then you can still get copies of the current versions through the same links.

Johnny Ball and Raspberry Pi

And a final fun fact. Did you know that Johnny Ball provided the voice over for a very entertaining Raspberry Pi animation?

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