Reading Together

Storybook Guide Based on Cheryl Bardoe’s “Nothing Stopped Sophie”

Explore math while reading and talking about this storybook.

Topic:

Activity Summary

Use this storybook guide with the book “Nothing Stopped Sophie.” Many public libraries have this book. This book is a Mathical Award winner.

Reading guide

About the Story

As a girl, Sophie Germain, born in 1776, was captivated by using math to solve important problems, like measuring the size of the earth. Her parents did everything they could to squash Sophie’s passion, because girls were not supposed to do math at that time. But nothing stopped Sophie! After secretly studying math at the university (where girls were not allowed), she persisted in doing math and eventually won a prestigious prize for solving a really hard math problem.

Sophie stands with her arms up. Illustration from "Nothing Stopped Sophie.”

Words to Learn

MATH WORDS
measure lengths, tally (add up), patterns of vibration, calculations, balance, equations

OTHER WORDS
scoffed, indulge, equality, scholar, prodigy, francs, Royal Academy of Sciences, finery, cobblestones, prestigious, perseverance

About the Math

This book is mostly about Sophie Germain’s persistence in doing math, despite prejudices against girls’ and women’s math abilities. Children can learn:

  • Math can be used to solve important practical problems, like measuring the size of the earth.
  • Girls and women can do math as well as boys and men.
  • Do not give up on your passions, even when others discourage you.
  • A little about how vibrations affect objects’ movements.
Sophie teaches math to a group of men. Illustration from "Nothing Stopped Sophie.”

Talk During Reading

  • DISCUSS HOW SOPHIE’S PARENTS REACTED TO HER INTEREST IN MATH
    At first, Sophie’s parents tried to prevent her from doing math. Why did they do that? After a while, they changed their minds. Why?
  • DESCRIBE SOPHIE’S FEELINGS
    What was Sophie’s mathematical dream? How strongly did Sophie feel about math?
  • TALK ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S FEELINGS
    Is there anything you feel really strongly about, like Sophie?
  • EXPLAIN THE APPLICATIONS OF MATH
    How can you use math to help you do things? (For example, you can count out how many quarters you have, measure the right amount for a recipe, see what time it is, and much more!)

Try to come up with some of your own questions and comments, too!

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