What books tend to be missing from most school libraries? Well, in most libraries it is very difficult to find books by a diverse range of authors, but in addition to that, it can be very hard to find storybooks about STEM (Science, Technology, and Mathematics). Then add in trying to find one with a female protagonist and things get even tougher! That is not to say there are NO books in this category because there certainly are, and as a librarian I work very hard to find and purchase them for my library. However, it does take searching! This is why I jumped on the chance to review Annie Aardvark, Mathematician when author Suzie Olsen reached out to me. Olsen is an engineer and is a strong advocate for women in STEM, on top of being a mother and children’s book author.
Annie is a sweet counting picture book about Annie the Aardvark ~ children can count along and even act out the sounds/motions that go along with Annie as she counts all of the different things she encounters in her daily life. I love that these items are true to facts when it comes to what aardvarks eat and where they live – this would be a perfect pairing with a non-fiction book about aardvarks, or some simple research into aardvarks. However, Annie is all about counting too, and the focus is on MATH! The book keeps the story light and very listener-friendly for the youngest readers, while also including a deeper author’s note in the back about Annie’s namesake, Annie Easley, a mathematician, computer programmer and rocket scientist. This would be a great piece to share with older readers who may not need the counting message from Annie the Aardvark!
I told Suzie when she reached out to me that I would be more than happy to take a look at the book, but that I couldn’t promise a review since I only write reviews for books I love, out of respect for the authors and my own professional integrity. With Annie Aardvark, Mathematician, however, I was just disappointed I had not found the book on my own! As a librarian, the only things stopping me from giving this book 5 stars is the fact that it is only available in paperback, and the design is not as richly developed as in other books of this kind, with all text on a white background in a typewriter-ish font on the left pages of each fold, and pictures standing alone on the right page. However, I am well aware of the workings of the publishing world, and for a new author/illustrating team like Olsen and Kinney to get their book into the world, this was the format that was workable. I understand that and did not let it impact my professional opinion of the story and intention behind the women in STEM message.
Annie is illustrated by Davina “Viv” Kinney.
This book would be a welcome addition to any library, classroom, or child’s home bookshelf. It is available in paperback, as well as a Kindle eBook on Amazon. It is included in the Kindle Unlimited subscription.
(I was provided with a copy of this book for review purposes, all opinions are my own. The book is being placed into my school library collection based on my professional opinion of its merit.)