Contributed by
"William E. Emba"
(A preteen novel, obscurely set in the 50s, only skimmed by
me. I was attracted by the Moebius strip on the cover of the
Scholastic edition. It was a National Book Award finalist, I
presume in some children's category.)
The main character, 11year old Amanda, is finding growing
up challenging. She finds the still childish side of herself,
which she calls "Amanda Woods", and the new maturing side of
herself, which she calls "Amanda K. Woods", difficult to
reconcile.
When it comes to her math homework, the AKW side finally
triumphs, and she gets an A+. There is a scene involving
long division.
But the real mathematical surprise comes later, when Antoine,
her pen pal from France, visits with his parents during summer
vacation. *Both* the parents are mathematicians! On being
told that Amanda is smart at math, they give her a Moebius
strip, and she immediately figures out that it is onesided:
"It is called a Moebius strip," Mrs. Bonnier
said. "It is important to geometry. And in life,
too, sometimes the outside turns into the inside
and the inside into the outside."
And after the Bonniers went back to France,
... her mother wanted to know if she realized
that the Bonniers were very special people and
that being a mathematician was a very
special
thing, and that Amanda could be a
mathematician
one day, too, if she wanted.
At the end of the book, Amanda adopts the
Moebius strip as a
metaphor for her growing maturity and
ability to reconcile
opposing demands.
(I must say, this blatant propaganda
surprises me.)
