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Book Review of “Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss” by Danica McKellar

Kiss My Math: Showing Who’s the Boss in Pre-Algebra [Soft cover]

by Danica McKellar

352 pages, $24.95

ISBN-10: 1594630496

nonfiction

In the late ’80s, network ABC blessed America with a lovely series called “The Miracle Years.” The young Fred Savage lived through the turbulent ’60s maturity, one of the most turbulent times in American history. In this family sitcom, his partner Danica McKellar is his charming, on-and-off girlfriend Winnie. Fighting math concepts may be too mundane a plot to air on this friendly TV show.

Ms. McKellar decided to take a break from acting to attend UCLA, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics — and even helped write original research that proved original mathematical theorems. During that learning process, she had an epiphany: Math is not necessarily the bane of young women. She wrote that choosing not to stay in the high tower of the Math Institute math is not bada book dedicated to young women to help those struggling with math anxiety.

kiss my math build on content math is not bad, so that its readers have a higher understanding of pre-algebraic concepts. The writer, who taught math in high school, couldn’t be fussier with the demonstrations of the mathematical principles presented. One of the benefits of learning math or even teaching math is that in the end there can only be one correct answer to a math problem. Math anxiety arises when students realize that math is a demanding study… which cannot be achieved through a process of bluffing.

Prepubescent girls will appreciate Danica’s efforts to provide her with dating tips and personal experiences as she moves through adolescence. McKellar deserves credit for including testimonials from working women that illustrate how mathematical studies can be helpful even in glamorous female careers like fashion marketing.

However, it’s hard to take some illustrations seriously. For example, to teach the difference between positive and negative integers, McKellar calls them “mint-egers.” Good-tasting mints are positive integers, and bad-tasting mints are negative integers. If you have a negative taste in your mouth, like -6, you can combine it with a positive integer to get 0. She called it “lint-eger” because it was so bland.

Know a young woman struggling with math? This book may help, but please stay away from her father; he will smirk at himself the rest of the time.

Reviewed by Steven King, MBA, MEd

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