The Girl with the Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague — 17 Comments

  1. I love the idea of this book. I think this is an interesting story that needs to be told, however I felt that the rhyming took away from the story. I can see how it may help hold young reader’s interests, but it glosses over the struggles she faced. I think its a great story about a strong woman, who fought for what she wanted. It is a wonderful addition to a collection as a biography, as a STEAM tool, and for discussions of race and gender. Overall, I was not a fan of the Dr. Seuss-like quality the rhyming had. I caught myself reading it like I would Green Eggs and Ham, without focusing on the deeper content.

  2. This was my favorite of this year’s selections. It fits so many “must-have” categories. It is a great picture book biography, of which we never have enough. It is a great STEAM/Engineering for girls books (well written ones are hard to find). I can recommend this book to teachers looking for options for Martin Luther King Day. Or even recommend it to our school counselor for her girl groups. This book fits the needs of some many.

  3. I felt bored by this book. It is an inspirational and incredible story but I don’t think that this book delivered it well. I found myself talking to my girls and explaining why this was such an important story, trying to help them understand why they should like this story. The rhyming text might help to keep attention of young readers. 3/5 stars

  4. The poetic text of this book makes the story an interesting one that I really enjoyed. One could make so many curriculum connections with the book such as; black history, women in history, careers, and perseverance. The additions to the back of the book add extra zing. Would make a good read aloud and independent read. 5/5 stars

  5. Ugh, I may be a spoilsport, but I detest when informational text is written in RHYME. It just completely makes trite the ideas that should be giving students pause…there was so much racism and sexism that Montague faced and lines like “Life should’ve been swell, yet that wasn’t the case. He boss treated her poorly because of her race” just don’t do the concept justice.
    I had never heard about Raye Montague before reading this book, which of course is a real shame. I am grateful to have learned about her amazing accomplishments.
    Also, I LOVE all the backmatter in this book! This is where I like to spend a lot of time with my students when we share an informational text aloud. The timeline would tie in nicely to the unit my second graders complete about timelines (they create a timeline of highlights from their own lives so far).

  6. I found Raye Montague’s story very inspirational. The foolishness that she had to endure is ridiculous and ultimately a loss for our country. Think about what she could have accomplished if she hadn’t had so many obstacles- it’s mind- boggling. Our country really hurts itself by discouraging people from reaching their full potential.

    I am not sure how I feel about the cartoon illustrations or the prose that it’s written with. I can’t decide if they make the story more accessible or if it serves to trivialize the story. I loved the timeline and the photos at the end of the book.

    I would definitely try to incorporate this book in some way, probably as a support to our STEM “Bridges” unit.

  7. I found this book to be and inspiring, well-done STEM book for young readers, especially girls. It also provides a great example of growth mindset and would facilitate thoughtful conversation. I enjoyed the upbeat rhyme of the story and think that it would be a great read aloud. I also appreciated the extra information like the extensive bibliography, timeline, and excerpts from the author’s interview.
    Rate 4/5 stars

  8. I hate not agreeing with others. I really wanted to love this book, but I just didn’t. It wasn’t the topic, but rather the method of delivery. I loved the story of an incredible female African American mathematician role model, the interview and timeline in the back of the book, and the author’s efforts in using language that makes the topic accessible to young readers. I felt like the seriousness and inspiration of this story is diminished by the prose. That being said, if the opportunity presented itself, I would certainly add this book to my Inspiring Leaders for Change book bin.

  9. This is a wonderful book! I liked the rhyme and the message from Raye Montague at the end. The timeline and the information about her at the end might be too much for 2-3rd graders, but this book could easily be read and used in 4-5th grade. This is a wonderful story about following your dreams even when others oppose you. I would use the “Fact and Tidbit” section as separate little stories about her life, perhaps using one each day to read and discuss.Illustrations were perfect for the book!

  10. I loved this book, and what I especially liked is that it is a biography that’s written in verse. I also really liked how the author took a more conversational approach to telling Raye’s story. It reminded me a lot of a book a read last year (Whoosh!) that tells the story of how the Super Soaker was invented. The additional information sections at the end of the book were also something I really liked because, together, they worked to make the book be even more meaningful to readers of varying levels — Raye’s note especially speaks to children, the timeline speaks to older children, the facts and tidbits speaks to more advanced readers, and the about section speaks more to adults.

    I would use this book with children in the classroom as a way to support themes such as overcoming adversity or perseverance, but also in conjunction with Women’s History and Black History months. One thing I really appreciated about Mosca’s writing and storytelling in this book is that racism and sexism was directly mentioned rather than casually hinted at and left for adults to explain to younger readers.

    I think this book would definitely be a valuable addition to curriculum not only for its representation of minorities, engaging storytelling, and for telling a lesser-known but mightily important piece of history, but also for it’s vocabulary building opportunities with the words that are in bold capitals throughout the text.

    I am looking forward to reading the other books in the Amazing Scientists series.

    Overall score: 5/5 stars

  11. This book has it all! There is so much great information, the illustrations are fantastic, facts are given in a fun and humorous way, real photographs are included, a timeline shows the progression of Raye Montague’s life (my students LOVE timelines), more “facts and tidbits” are included, references for more information are included, etc. After looking it up on Amazon, I saw there are a few more books by Julia Finley Mosca; I can only imagine they are fantastic as well. I know this book would be a perfect addition to my Biography tub! And I can already hear my students saying, “Hey, it rhymes!”

  12. Loved this book. The rhyming makes the story captivating for the students. This would be a great book to use when combining Engineering and Black History Month. I give this book a 5/5.

  13. I didn’t expect this book to be as good as it was. The rhyme was cute but what really grabbed me was all the extra information in the back. What perseverance! I will definately use this during my MLK week. I give this book a 10 out of 10.

  14. I liked this book because it’s about an important person and it’s an important story that needs to be heard but gosh I HATED the rhyming text. I had a hard time reading it because of this and I would would really hate to read it out loud. I enjoyed the back matter far more than the actual text of the storybook. What an extraordinary person Raye was!
    I wouldn’t be able to use this book for storytime because it’s too long but it would be an excellent addition to any library or classroom shelves and it would be an important part of the STEM curriculum especially when studying famous mathematicians or engineering. However, my personal opinion is that this book would be best for personal reading or one-on-one instead of a read aloud.
    4/5 stars

  15. This book has it all! A fabulous read aloud. The rhymes will help with its length. Plus, it has a timeline, brief biography; but, what I love the most is the personal letter Raye wrote to the readers and the advice she gives on how to deal with difficult situations–perfect for our PBIS in our school! There are other books in this series to share. Students will shout “That’s not fair” when Raye does not get the credit she deserves. It would be a great launching pad to share about other historical figures that triumphed graciously over injustice and finally received the applause they so deserved. This and other similar books would make a great “Living Museum.” Rate this book 5/5 stars.

  16. Great book. I also thought of Hidden Figures. I think this book showed the struggles of African American Women and how they had to work to achieve things. I enjoyed the rhyme in the book. Made the book flow and I thinks kids would enjoy this book. I would use it with higher level readers for biographies. I like the time lines in the back of the book also and could use this also in several areas.
    Rating 4/5 stars

  17. I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me A LOT of the movie Hidden Figures. Both are great stories of African American women and how they fought for rights for equal jobs as men. It is an inspiring story of never giving up and achieving your dreams.
    It is a great book for all students to hear, but especially for girls.
    I would love to use this as a read a loud, but also leave out for free reading.
    I would use it as a writing project and have students write about their favorite subject at school and why they love it. Also have them share what kind of job they would like to have when they are older and if this subject would help them in the career.
    I rate this book 5/5 stars