Math Doesn’t Suck

Math Doesnt SuckMath Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail
By Danica McKellar

From a well-known actress and math genius – a groundbreaking guide to mathematics for middle school girls, their parents, and educators.

As the math education crisis in this country continues to make headlines, research continues to prove that it is in middle school when math scores begin to drop – especially for girls – in large part due to the relentless social conditioning that tells girls they “can’t do” math, and that math is “uncool.” Young girls today need strong female role models to embrace the idea that it’s okay to be smart – in fact, it’s sexy to be smart!

It’s Danica McKellar’s mission to be this role model, and demonstrate on a large scale that “math doesn’t suck.” In this fun and accessible guide, McKellar – dubbed a “math superstar” by The New York Times – gives girls and their parents the tools they need to master the math concepts that confuse middle-schoolers most, including fractions, percentages, pre-algebra, and more. The book features hip, real-world examples, step-by-step instruction, and engaging stories of Danica’s own childhood struggles in math (and stardom). In addition, borrowing from the style of today’s teen magazines, it even includes a Math Horoscope section, Math Personality Quizzes, and Real-Life Testimonials – ultimately revealing why math is easier and cooler than readers think.

Marcie Cuff felts with families on Thursday May 8th at 7:30p.m.

We are so happy to spend a family-friendly evening with Marcie Cuff, author of “This Book Was a Tree” on Thursday May 8th at 7:30. From Marcie: “I’ve been imagining my event at Byrd’s to be a sort of book signing and “crafty night out” for grownups.” We think that sounds great!!!

From the author:

This Book Was a Tree is sort of a self-help book for adults on how to slow down and reconnect with the outside world. Though the writing is fun and quirky, and the projects within it are simple and green, it covers the science behind formidable local and global environmental issues. Its audience is the practical, educated middle-aged person making responsible purchases and favoring ethical products. Although the projects within it are very family-friendly and collaborative, but the text is not written as a children’s book.”This book was a tree

About the book:

At no time in human history have we been more disconnected with what lies outside our front doors. Within just a century, our relationship with our surroundings has transformed from one of exploration to one of disassociation. In This Book Was a Tree, science teacher Marcie Cuff issues a call for a new era of pioneers–not leathery, backwoods deerskin-wearing salt pork and hominy pioneers, but strong-minded, clever, crafty, mudpie-making, fort-building individuals committed to examining the natural world and deciphering nature’s perplexing puzzles.
Within each chapter, readers will discover a principle for reconnecting with the natural world around them, from learning to be still to discovering the importance of giving back. With a mix of science and hands-on crafts and activities, readers will be encouraged to brainstorm, imagine, and understand the world as inventive scientists–to touch, collect, document, sketch, decode, analyze, experiment, unravel, interpret, compare, and reflect. (April 1 release)

About the author:

Marcie Cuff has an academic background in studio art, evolutionary biology and animal behavior, and an MA in Secondary Science teaching. Now a nature columnist for a regional newspaper, The Hudson Independent, she has written professionally for most of her life, and runs Mossy, a blog highlighting innovative family projects, hands-on parenting commentary, and related photography, and listed as one of Babble’s top 50 Mom Craft Blogs of 2011. She works as a garden coordinator at a local elementary school, and organizes and maintains a community-based vegetable garden.

Far From the Tree

Far From the TreeFar from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon

From the National Book Award-winning author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression comes a monumental new work, a decade in the writing, about family. In Far from the Tree, Andrew Solomon tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so.

Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us all. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter.

All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent parents should accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves. Drawing on forty thousand pages of interview transcripts with more than three hundred families, Solomon mines the eloquence of ordinary people facing extreme challenges. Whether considering prenatal screening for genetic disorders, cochlear implants for the deaf, or gender reassignment surgery for transgender people, Solomon narrates a universal struggle toward compassion. Many families grow closer through caring for a challenging child; most discover supportive communities of others similarly affected; some are inspired to become advocates and activists, celebrating the very conditions they once feared. Woven into their courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent.

Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original thinker, Far from the Tree explores themes of generosity, acceptance, and tolerance – all rooted in the insight that love can transcend every prejudice. This crucial and revelatory book expands our definition of what it is to be human.

Far from the Tree is currently a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for nonfiction.

The Sibling Effect

The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal about Us

By Jeffrey Kluger

A senior writer at Time magazine explores what scientists and researchers are discovering about sibling bonds, the longest- lasting relationships we have in our lives.

Nobody affects us as deeply as our brothers and sisters-not parents, not children, not friends. From the time we – and they – are born, our siblings are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and cautionary tales. They teach us how to resolve conflicts and how not to, how to conduct friendships and when to walk away. Our siblings are the only people we know who truly qualify as partners for life.

In this groundbreaking book, renowned science writer Jeffrey Kluger explores the complex world of siblings in a way that is equal parts science, psychology, sociology, and memoir. Based heavily on new and emerging research, The Sibling Effect examines birth order, twin studies, genetic encoding of behavioral traits, emotional disorders and their effects on-and effects from-sibling relationships, and much more.

With his signature insight and humor, Kluger takes big ideas about siblings and turns them into smart, accessible writing that will help anyone understand the importance of siblings in our lives.

American Grown

By Michelle Obama

Through telling the story of the White House Kitchen Garden, First Lady Michelle Obama explores how increased access to healthful, affordable food can promote better eating habits and improve health for families and communities across America.

Mrs. Obama describes how Sasha and Malia were the catalysts for change for their family’s eating behavior which inspired her national initiative to address childhood obesity and resulted in the idea to plant a vegetable garden on the South Lawn, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden. American Grown is inspirational and instructive and will provide ideas for readers to get involved and join the movement to create community gardens, support local farmers markets, create school gardens, and start urban gardens, as well as other ways that they can make small changes to achieve big results and create healthy eating habits.

Since entering the White House, Mrs. Obama has emerged as a passionate advocate for healthful eating and exercise. In February 2010 she launched “Let’s Move!,” a nationwide initiative to address the epidemic of childhood obesity by empowering parents and caregivers with information, improving food quality in schools, increasing access to healthy, affordable food, and encouraging increased physical activity.

American Grown speaks to these issues which Mrs. Obama has strongly advocated for – in particular, making better food choices. It also includes practical ideas, recipes, and resources as well as tips on how to begin a garden of any size, anywhere and how to support local farmers’ markets.

Filled with gorgeous full-color photography, American Grown includes stunning photos of the White House garden and Mrs. Obama throughout the seasons, as well as other community and school gardens from around the country.

Cures for Hunger

By Deni Y. Béchard

“As the motor’s vibrations cradled me, I tried to envision my life. I saw the red lines of highways on the map, stretched between cities like threads of torn cloth. I imagined a book that could hold it all together, plains and mountain ranges, dust-drab towns beyond interstates, and somewhere on the far edges, the valley in British Columbia and those nights in Virginia when I snuck out and stalked the highway, trying to fathom where I belonged on this threadbare continent.”

As a child growing up in rural British Columbia, Deni Béchard had no idea that his family was extraordinary. With a father prone to racing trains and brawling, and a mother with interest in health food and the otherworldly, Deni finds pleasure in typical boyish activities: fishing for salmon with his father, and reading with his mother.

Assigned to complete a family tree in school, Deni begins to wonder why he doesn’t know more about his father’s side of the family. His mother is from Pittsburgh, and there is a vague sense that his father is from Quebec, but why the mystery? When his mother leaves Deni’s father and decamps with her three children to Virginia, his curiosity only grows. Who is this man, why do the police seem so interested in him, and why is his mother so afraid of him? And when his mother begrudgingly tells Deni that his father was once a bank robber, his imagination is set on fire. Boyish rebelliousness soon gives way to fantasies of a life of crime, and a deep drive for experience leads him to a number of adventures, hitching to Memphis and stealing a motorcycle; fighting classmates and kissing girls.

Before long, young Deni is imagining himself as a character in one of his father’s stories, or in the novels he devours greedily. At once attracted and repelled, Deni can’t escape the sense that his father’s life holds the key to understanding himself, and to making sense of his own passions, aversions, and motivations. Eventually he moves back to British Columbia, only to find himself snared in the controlling impulses of his mysterious father, and increasingly obsessed by his father’s own muted recollections of the Quebecois childhood he’d fled long ago.

At once an extraordinary family story and a highly unconventional portrait of the artist as a young man, Cures for Hunger is a singular, deeply affecting memoir, by one of the most acclaimed young writers in the world today.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

By Anna Quindlen

In this irresistible memoir, the New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize Anna Quindlen writes about looking back and ahead–and celebrating it all–as she considers marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, faith, loss, all the stuff in our closets, and more.

As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. Using her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages, Quindlen talks about:

Marriage: “A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn’t believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.”

Girlfriends: “Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter. But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends. Sometimes I will see a photo of an actress in an unflattering dress or a blouse too young for her or with a heavy-handed makeup job, and I mutter, ‘She must not have any girlfriends.’ ”

Stuff: “Here’s what it comes down to, really: there is now so much stuff in my head, so many years, so many memories, that it’s taken the place of primacy away from the things in the bedrooms, on the porch. My doctor says that, contrary to conventional wisdom, she doesn’t believe our memories flag because of a drop in estrogen but because of how crowded it is in the drawers of our minds. Between the stuff at work and the stuff at home, the appointments and the news and the gossip and the rest, the past and the present and the plans for the future, the filing cabinets in our heads are not only full, they’re overflowing.”

Our bodies: “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come. It’s like a car, and while I like a red convertible or even a Bentley as well as the next person, what I really need are four tires and an engine.”

Parenting: “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”

From childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, Quindlen uses the events of her own life to illuminate our own. Along with the downsides of age, she says, can come wisdom, a perspective on life that makes it satisfying and even joyful. Candid, funny, moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life.

Darth Vader and Son

By Jeffrey Brown

What if Darth Vader took an active role in raising his son? What if “Luke, I am your father” was just a stern admonishment from an annoyed dad?

In this hilarious and sweet comic reimagining, Darth Vader is a dad like any other – except with all the baggage of being the Dark Lord of the Sith. Celebrated artist Jeffrey Brown’s delightful illustrations give classic Star Wars moments a fresh twist, presenting the trials and joys of parenting through the lens of a galaxy far, far away. Life lessons include lightsaber batting practice, using the Force to raid the cookie jar, Take Your Child to Work Day on the Death Star (“Er, he looks just like you, Lord Vader!”), and the special bond shared between any father and son.

The End of Molasses Classes

By Ron Clark

Award-winning teacher and bestselling author Clark (The Essential 55) presents a riveting new book providing rules for parents and teachers to help kids succeed in school.

In his New York Times bestseller The End of Molasses Classes, renowned educator Ron Clark challenges parents, teachers, and communities everywhere to make a real difference in the lives of our kids, offering revolutionary and classroom-tested ways to uplift, educate, and empower our children. Read this book to find out why so many across the country have embraced these powerful rules.

  • Set the electric tone on day one
  • Teach your children how to study – don’t expect it to come naturally
  • Don’t constantly stress about test scores
  • Not every child deserves a cookie
  • Lift up your teachers. No, really, lift them up!
  • If kids like you all the time, you’re doing something wrong
  • Don’t be a penny parent

Be different. Be bold. Join in.

Bringing Up Bébé

Bringing Up Bebe coverBy Pamela Druckerman

After becoming used to the stereotype of screaming, ill-tempered children, an American mother living in Paris was amazed at how well-behaved French children were. In this book she explains how parents can make their lives less stressful by taking some pointers from the French art of child-rearing.

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