Thursday, November 29, 2012

Books for reading about mathematics and physics

Today I'd like to introduce two books which can be helpful to build up the linguistic competence of students taking mathematics in Spanish.

It is not easy to find novels which are related to specific subject areas in a school, introduce scientific topics in a realistic way and/or use problem solving as the leading engine in the development of the story. I've been reading different books and my choice so far is the following: El asesinato del profesor de matemáticas (Anaya) de Jordi Sierra i Fabra y La puerta de los tres cerrojos (La Galera) de Sonia Fernández-Vidal.

Jordi Sierra is probably the most prolific Spanish writer for children and young adults, he has published hundreds of titles and has numerous awards, among them the National Award for children´s literature in 2007 and some of the most prestigious awards in children´s literature (Edebé, Barco de Vapor, Gran Angular...). The story is simple: 3 students, the only ones in the class who have failed mathematics, are challenged by their teacher to find who is responsible for his own death. To solve the mystery they must resolve different math problems until they find who is guilty. At the end, we discover everything was a bet between the math teacher and the principal so the 3 main characters could pass their exam. From this moment the students embarked in a frantic trip to solve the problems and find their teacher's murderer.

La Puerta de los tres Cerrojos was published in 2011 by Sofía Fernández-Vidal, a doctor physicist who has worked for different technological companies all over the world. Her aim is to show young people the depths of the quantic physics. The main character in the book, fourteen-year-old Niko, opens the door with the three lockers and will encounter a parallel world inhabited by scientist elves and fairies who will explain to him the origins and the development of the universe.


Both books are easy to read and are related to the subjects areas taught in Spanish. Both have been best sellers and have been translated to various languages. They can be one more tool to make  Maths, in Spanish, a bit more accessible.