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Go Ask Mom

Children's book author, who makes middle school math fun, comes to Triangle

Posted April 20, 2012 12:02 p.m. EDT

Sean Connolly, an award-winning children's book author who aims to make math fun, will have two stops in the Triangle this week as part of the N.C. Science Festival.

Connolly's "The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math: 24 Death-Defying Challenges for Young Mathematicians" infuses middle school math with things like zombies, shipwrecks, vampires, and treasure hunters.

So a standard math problem like "if car A is traveling west at 10 miles per hour, and car B is traveling east at 30 miles per hour" turns into something like this where math is the key to survival:

"Let’s say a vampire has moved onto your block, and every month he feeds on two people in your town, turning them into vampires. One month later, he and each of the new vampires are capable of turning two more people into vampires — a pattern that continues until some brave individual intervenes. Approximately how many months will it take for your 500,000-person town to become populated entirely by blood-sucking fiends if they’re not stopped?"

The book takes readers (and their parents) through each step of the problem. Each problem is followed by a related activity designed to bring the math to life.

Connolly, who is on a national book tour, will make two appearances in the Triangle next week.

He'll be at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday.

And he'll stop at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday.