My interview with Danica McKellar about her latest math book for girls, Hot X: Algebra Exposed!, is now up over on the new GeekMom blog. Check it out!
McKellar, well-known for playing Winnie Cooper on “The Wonder Years,” went to college intending to study film, but signed up for math classes because her brain felt “mushy.” When solving equations felt like a “drug rush,” she became a math major and co-authored an original theorem.
Since then, McKellar has emerged as a unique math role model whose previous books, Math Doesn’t Suck and Kiss My Math, spread the message that brainy is beautiful, being good at math is just part of being fabulous, and math doesn’t have to be scary—all messages that are very close to my heart as a female math tutor.
Her latest book, Hot X: Algebra Exposed! is the first algebra book in the history of humankind to discuss both breakups and binomials. Step-by-step guidance on how to do algebra is interspersed with quizzes (“are you a perfectionist?”), stories from her own life about being an actress and a math major, and testimonials from women who use math in their careers, including a daredevil airshow pilot/astrophysics computing scientist.
When I was in middle school and crying myself to sleep over my math homework, I would have been thrilled to have an algebra book that was this friendly, encouraging, and helpful. I’ve never seen another algebra text explicitly addressing the emotional aspects of learning math, which I know from experience are so important to girls. (And it’s not just me—one of my sixth-grade tutoring students saw the book in my apartment, picked it up and exclaimed, “This is perfect for me!”)
So click on over to the GeekMom blog to read about McKellar’s own experiences being terrified of math as a 7th grader and growing up to give math a PR overhaul.
(Many people conspired to make this interview possible: Elizabeth Keenan, Ken Denmead, Liz Jones-Dilworth, Josh Jones-Dilworth, Missy Mazzoli, and Jina Moore. Thank you all!!!)
*Looking for a girl math tutor? Call 617-888-0160 for an appointment with Rebecca Zook!
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