Girls and Math: Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss by Danica McKellar
Last summer Danica McKellar's runaway best-seller Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail, for girls aged 10-12, hit bookstore shelves with a stereotype-shattering theme: females can shine at math and still sparkle in the girly girl department. Author McKellar, who played Winnie Cooper on the long-running television series The Wonder Years, is living proof of her own point: a successful working actress (The West Wing, How I Met Your Mother) is also a published mathematician whose personal crusade is to convince girls that math mastery should be part of their "wonder years." Forget beautiful but dumb, she insists; cute and smart is the way to go for girls.
Now McKellar has a follow-up guide for girls 12-14, titled Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss, which promises to show girls how to be successful in pre-algebra, digging in to tough topics like integers, variables, absolute values, and exponents. Keeping to her lively, informal teen magazine format, McKellar mixes personal anecdotes from her own school days, reader polls, personality quizzes, and testimonials from readers of her first book with expert help in slaying the math dragon: step-by-step instructions, sample problems with detailed explanations, tips and tricks for saving time on homework, copious examples of the use of these math principles in daily life, and her crucial "Math Test Survival Guide."
Danica McKellar holds to the guiding principles of her first book: 1) girls can compete in mathematics on any level and 2) proficiency in math is necessary to give girls the opportunity for successful and glamorous careers. Coming hard behind the recently published study in Science showing that American girls' scores are now commensurate with those of boys, McKellar's just published book should be on every middle-school girl's school supplies list.
To meet the needs of this century, America needs more home-grown scientists and mathematicians. Half of them can be women.