What’s Math Got to Do With It?
Mathematics – love it or hate it, you certainly can’t ignore it. Karadi Tales editorial intern Advaita Manikkath Ambat writes about two books from our Will You Read With Me series that feature this polarizing subject and give readers a sneak peek into how fascinating it is!
If the xs and ys of algebra, means, averages and big numbers strike fear in your heart, then you were one of the very many who dreaded maths growing up. You’ve called it a total waste of time in the age of cellphone calculators and Google, and have found inventive ways to ridicule it and avoid doing it. Maths, the troublesome subject it is, is tackled in all its polarizing glory in the books Crickematics and Just One Paisa.
In Crickematics, written by Anshumani Rudra and illustrated by M. Kathiravan, Anirudh, a cricket-obsessed boy soon learns that he has to do the maths he hates in order to keep playing in his beloved school cricket team. Forced into a corner, Anirudh reluctantly learns to do his math homework with some help from his cricket coach. Soon, he realizes that maybe maths isn’t exactly as hard as it first seemed. The maths in the book is handled through Anirudh’s favourite subject – cricket, introducing him to the idea that mathematics is an essential part of life, and that learning it doesn’t have to be such a chore.
In Just One Paisa by Nadine D’Souza, illustrated by Amruta Pokarna, a small girl—Lakshmi— runs roughshod over a clueless king, as a seemingly innocuous promise causes him to re-evaluate his beliefs. Set in the kingdom of Maruda, Raja Dhomak, who thinks that the best way to keep his kingdom rich is by keeping all the money to himself, is proven wrong. When Lakshmi outwits the king and saves her kingdom from poverty, maths is at the centre of this feat— through its application in economics and finance.
Crickematics and Just One Paisa are audiobooks from the ‘Will You Read with Me?’ series – started by Karadi Tales to promote the habit of reading in children. Both the books are narrated by Rahul Dravid, whose crisp and involved reading brings the world of maths to life. It’s woven seamlessly into the stories, and the gentle nudge to let the reader ponder the concepts themselves is a helpful complement to the learning you take away from these books. The music that accompanies the narration is lively and the little sound effects, such as the tap of Karadi’s cane, are small details that make even the cue for turning pages fun.
Both Crickematics and Just One Paisa do their bit to foster appreciation in kids for the subject of maths. They do this through a story and a song (or two) and manage to lure you in with beautiful visuals and spellbinding music. For something like maths, a subject that’s usually presented to kids without the context of well fleshed out stories or catchy tunes, the novelty is refreshing. This is why finger-counting and the use of visual aids and diagrams to learn maths (both things that are usually discouraged after a certain age) are even making a scientific comeback.
Seeing maths as being helpful and integral to life is sure to quell every maths-hating kid’s complaint of ‘why learn it, it’s so useless’. The drama and storytelling are very well integrated with the element of learning in both the books. Maths can be fun and entertaining and should be learnt as something that’s all around us instead of as a subject isolated from the rest of the world. And Crickematics and Just One Paisa show us exactly how to go about doing that.