Nothing Stopped Sophie
The Story of Unstoppable Mathematician Sophie Germain
by Cheryl Bardoe
Illustrations by Barbara McClintock
A wonderful biography about a woman that refused to give up on her love of math!
Recommended age: 7+
Main Character: Female
I love picture books! Most of the picture books that I have enjoyed have been fiction; stories that have made me laugh, allowed me to dream, or impressed me with the cleverness of the story and/or illustrations. Well, I still love stories, absolutely, but I also enjoy discovering nonfiction picture books that introduce me to people, places, and more!
Picture books are not just for the youngest readers! They are a wonderful way to learn without being overwhelmed by text while at the same time being treated to brilliant illustrations. Creativity meets reality, all in a wonderfully portable picture book! Nothing Stopped Sophie is a perfect example of this.
During a time and place that was filled with political upheaval (the French Revolution) and gender conventions, Sophie Germain discovered her love of math. She embraced it despite her parents' initial attempts to dissuade her. Having been born in a time when women barely received an education, and were not acknowledged as academic equals, Sophie dedicated her life to learning and worked to achieve her goals in mathematics.
After six years of trial and error and thousands of equations, Sophie Germain became the first woman to win the grand prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences. Sophie Germain's efforts and accomplishments cemented her place in the history books both as a mathematician and as a woman who helped change the world!
"The human spirit requires more resources inside when outside it has less."
- Sophie Germain
1. Make a Chladni Plate! In Nothing Stopped Sophie, there is a scene where Ernst Chladni demonstrates how sound vibrations move sand around on a metal plate. Here's a site that shows several different ideas for materials as well as links for music to use and extra info!
2. Play a 'Math Scavenger Hunt!' Find a ruler and and either seek out items that are measurable in increasing amounts (i.e. Find something that is one inch long, then two inches, etc.), or prepare a list of specifics like, 'Find two things that are 2 inches long, what is the measurement of the top of the toaster!
3. Make an Abacus! Here's one that uses kid friendly materials and is easy to make: https://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/how-to-make-an-abacus-at-home/
4. Learn a little Greek or Latin! Sophie learned to read in Latin and Greek so she could read the works of Isaac Newton and Leonhard Euler.
Here's a fun intro for Latin: http://learn101.org/latin_nouns.php
...and an interactive Greek alphabet: http://www.ilearngreek.com/Lessons/alphabet.L1.asp
5. Stay up too late reading! Now, if you're like us, you've already done this! But, in case you haven't, go screen free, grab a book and snuggle up in a cozy chair and make like Sophie and read away!