Ali the Inventor Saves the Garden! by Amire Makin. Book Review.

This was a unique and positive picture book. Ali is a boy who loves math and electronics and considers himself an engineer and inventor. He looks to be about 10 or 12 years old. Ali explains to the reader that electronics show how a thing really works. Math formulas solve electronic problems.

Allie goes out into the community to see who can he can help with his skills. He meets Mr. Maxwell whose vegetable garden is dying because the sprinkler system won’t work. Allie takes the electronic circuit board to his lab where he fixes it. While he works, he explains how to be safe using electronics. With the assistance of Mr. McCoy, he solves the timer problem using mathematics. This is pretty advanced formula work. Even though a child may not understand the math, they will be able to follow the story. Allie successfully repairs the sprinkler system.

The story ends:

“Friends, remember we used math to convert the time for minutes into seconds. We also used math to fix an electronic circuit so sprinkler system would work. Always use a grown-up when working with electronics. The ability to make a big difference is deep inside of you. Train your brain to solve problems in your neighborhood!”

I love that this young man showed how important, useful, and fun understanding math can be. He also demonstrated that we can use whatever our skills are to contribute to our society. He was socially engaged and responsible. This would be a great book to read to a child who says, “I’ll never use math in real life.”

The book showed people of diverse backgrounds. The illustrations were in the style of early comic books. Allie was a lovable protagonist, especially when he did his little victory dance.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

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