“A 2011 Florida State University study found that just 7.5 percent of nearly 6,000 picture books published between 1900 and 2000 depict female animal protagonists; male animals were the central characters in more than 23 percent each year. (For books in which characters were not assigned a gender, researchers noted, parents reading to their children tended to assign one: male.) No more than 33 percent of children’s books in any given year featured an adult woman or female animal, but adult men and male animals appeared in 100 percent of the books.” See full article here.
Do these statistics surprise me? No. And, as a mother with a daughter, it has become very obvious to me that these statistics are very representative of 2017 as well. Yes there are books that feature main female characters, but they are still the exception, not the rule. And the classics that we love and still enjoy certainly haven’t been rewritten with female characters! Dora the Explorer books are a phenomenal addition to our home…not only is the book starring a female character- she is problem solving! She is figuring things out, using scientific evidence, and she is NOT a princess! There is always a need for more books like this!
After writing about my journey as a science professional to that of a stay at home mom (that was featured on the National Girls Collaborative Project blog), I was contacted by a wonderful author of a new children’s book! Not only does this book have a female character (Annie the Aardvark), this female character is interested in MATH! Needless to say, I was thrilled to get the chance to review this book!
Annie Aardvark, Mathematician, written by Suzie Olsen, is an adorable little book to help teach counting. Annie is on an adventure in wonderful mother nature. She counts items along the way. On each page, she finds different items and counts them. The book is a reasonable length, and Annie gets to count up to 10 by the end of the book.
There are several things I like about how the concept of counting is portrayed in this book:
– The numbers are displayed as words “one, two, three, four…”. This isn’t typical for a counting book. Usually only the numbers are displayed. (It would have been perfect to have both the number and the words written out).
– As Annie reaches the next number, she doesn’t just say the final number, she counts from one each time. By the time she finds 10 ants, the reader has seen “one” ten times, “two” 9 times, etc.! Repetition like this helps to teach a concept.
– The item that Annie finds is pictured so that the reader can count along with her.
– Annie is making a sound on each page. If she counted 7 items, she also makes the sound 7 times. This allows you to have your child make a noise 7 times and count in a different context. Plus, the sounds can be fun and a great way to engage a young child.
The length of this book is perfect. My 2 year old is fully engaged for the entire book. She’s getting great practice counting, and she’s getting to read about a female character that is a mathematician! That’s a huge win! Caroline is a huge book lover, so she was very excited to get this book. I tried to borrow the book from her just now, as I wrote this review. She insisted on keeping it and is now sitting in bed looking at Annie “the dog” as she calls her. LOL! She’s counting “One, two, three, four, nine, ten!” haha! She’s trying so hard to do it on her own. Love her determination! (She’s 28 months old).
If you would like to get your copy of Annie Aardvark, Mathematician, you can find it at GoodReads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. If you hurry and order in March, the proceeds of the book will go to SWENext, the Society of Women Engineer’s K-12 outreach program!
Huge thank you to Suzie Olsen for allowing us the opportunity to review this book and add another female character to our book shelf! Find Suzie at www.suzieolsen.com.
Other Posts of Interest:
Play Categories to Include for Every Toddler/Child (boy or girl)
Friday Finds (Some of my favorites) – includes gift guides by age!
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