Local author pens summer reading book - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Summer reading for JPS students - Growing Patterns

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By Marsha Thompson - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - School is out but summer reading is still in session. Most all public school students in the metro have to crack the books. One of the books for Jackson Public School students is written by a Rhodes scholar and award winning author who lives in Jackson.

Sarah Campbell was known as a tough legislative correspondent for the Clarion Ledger and  the Commercial Appeal. During a backyard interview Memorial Day, I asked her, "Do you miss those days?" "Every once in a while, I miss those days. I really like being on the front line and learning things," said Sarah at her home in north Jackson.

She retired from that. Began her family then missed writing. With 3 boys, new talents evolved naturally. Reading was an essential ingredient and her children loved non-fiction.  Sarah was soon on a quest to make sense of the world, write and introduce children to knowledge through other real life adventure stories.

"My book came along at a perfect time because there's much more recognition now on behalf of educators and people who study literacy that non-fiction is very important." Sarah has penned an award winning children's book. It's called Wolfsnail: A backyard predator. "These books grew out of my experience with my kids going out in the yard in Jackson." Wolfsnail was the 2009 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book.  2009 ALA Children's Notable Book and CCBC Choices book for 2009.

This summer, 2nd graders get to read Growing Patterns, Fibonacci Numbers in Nature.  It is a visual non-fiction book which reveals a complex equations of math and the secrets of nature. According to Sarah, "There are a lot of scientists, mathematicians and biologists and probably theologians who are trying to figure out how the explain Fibonacci."It's all about numbers. In fact, the biggest mathematical mystery in nature.  

In the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, each number is the sum of the previous two numbers, starting with 0 and 1. Thus the sequence begins 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610 etc.

The higher up in the sequence, the closer two consecutive "Fibonacci numbers" of the sequence divided by each other will approach the golden ratio (approximately 1 : 1.618 or 0.618 : 1).

The golden ratio was used widely in the Renaissance in paintings.

Children will learn fascinating new information and get a mental snapshot of the mystery thanks to the intricate color photographs of Sarah and her husband Richard. "The book is appropriate reading for ages: 6-12." 

Ian Stewart, Professor of Mathematics, University of Warwick, and author of Why Beauty is Truth, describes the book as "A wonderful introduction to one of the most beautiful connections's between mathematics and the natural world.  Simple, elegant and inspiring."

Sarah be lives the photographs and number sequence will help explain the simplistic pattern in Fibonacci. Then parents can seek out the mystery with their children in their own backyards.

"So parents can take their kids outside. They can measure these things and count them and I think it's important for the kids to get outside and find things. It helps feed that inner scientist that I think is part of childhood," says Sarah.

A talented duo, enchanting and enhancing the knowledge of young scientists and young minds during summer vacation.

For more information check out www.sarahccampbell.com

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