Math Island is a book written by John Koller and Gillian Singler for children of all ages. It helps if they are past third grade though, in my opinion. That way, they get more of the math content. The book has two main characters, Lily and Tad, who are siblings. A host of supporting characters joins them from chapter to chapter.
Together, Lily and Tad discover – by chance – that they can travel to a magical location called Math Island. A crab named Carl functions as their guide, while other animals also help explain math concepts to the visitors.
There is always tension in the air because of the Axioms – the villains of the island. These guys thrive on the aura of people with low brain activity. It’s a thing. The more you rely on a calculator, the greater your “low brain activity aura” becomes, so the more you attract the Axioms.
This is why the Tangents – the good guys on the island – help Lily and Tad memorize and practice math facts without a calculator and even without pen and paper. As long as they can get math problems solved without a calculator, and we are talking arithmetic here, the kids are safe from the Axioms.
More Than Math
The other interesting thing about Math Island is that it teaches vocabulary in footnotes. Additionally, at the end of every chapter, you get to work through some exercises that explore vocabulary in depth. As such, “Math Island” is the perfect book for the summer break (and beyond). The readers get both language arts and math in one package full of adventure and a plot that keeps you turning the pages.
In my own experience, my fourth grader wanted me to read the book to her. She reads a lot on her own, but she was not sure about this book. So she wanted me to kickstart her engine. My sixth grader read it on his own and loved it, but he still wandered into the room later, as I read it out loud to his younger sister. He said it was fun going through the book all over again.
Math Island is available on Amazon for $14.95 or by contacting the authors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. The authors sent me an advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion and review. This is definitely a great resource for our homeschool and a fun book to read for intermediate and middle school students. I highly recommend it.