Whether it is a tour of Britain’s capital, food travelogues from far flung places or teaching your kids math, we have the title for you
Maths on the Go 101 Fun Ways to Play with Maths By Rob Eastaway and Mike Askew (Random House Canada, $21.99;)
When I was at school, the question children asked most, and teachers liked least was, “how is this ever going to be useful when we get older?” This book answers that question through a series of math games, making it a part of everyday life. Based on real-life examples, this is really a book for adults on how to use math to engage with children. Though many of the examples reflect English life and verbiage (for example, pence and pounds instead of dollars and cents, maths instead of math, take away instead of minus, from instead of subtract), the examples are easily adaptable to North America. Most significant, is the psychological bent of the book, advising parents how to act and speak with their children to elicit age-appropriate responses and build confidence. Although the book is aimed at children 4-14 years old, it is best suited for younger children. Most kids love games but hate math. This book provides a way to get children to love both.
Far Afield Rare Food Encounters from Around the World By Shane Mitchell (Ten Speed Press, $54.00;)
Photographer and author are both deeply inspired by humanity and it shows in this series of short travelogues followed by recipes from across the globe. The people portrayed in this book live mainly in inaccessible, marginalized or inhospitable lands, and so there is a natural juxtaposition of city life (or social community) and countryside (or village): “In the city there is not enough air… for people used to the Highlands the city is poison.” Even when Mitchell portrays the Jungle, the refugee enclave in Calais, France that shelters thousands of people desperate to get to the UK, there is a sense of hospitality that lingers despite the tough conditions. This though, is a book about food – taro in Hawaii, chapati in India, a sheep leitir (roundup) in Iceland. Though, if there is a thread in the narrative, it is that of death and loss, from a Quecha farmer’s tribute to his departed nephew, to a European immigrant in Uruguay whose son died at 23, to the loss of the author’s own sister. Food, of course, is a sacrifice and it subsists on life, but there is also feasting, celebration, and special occasions, that emphasize the joyful aspect of eating. Thus, Far Afield seems like half a book, awaiting a sequel, closer to home.
Hidden Treasures of London A Guide to the Capital’s Best-kept Secrets By Michael McNay (Random House Canada, $63.95;)
Some London landmarks are so well known as to be iconic. In this fascinating book, McNay peers into lesser known but equally intriguing London haunts. This is the sort of voyage of discovery that travellers relish. In fact, using this book as a guidebook will take travellers to places that even locals may not know about. Even seasoned travellers will discover something new – from Trellick Tower in Kensington, and St Nicholas’s Chislehurst to the Foundling Museum and Eastbury Manor House. Divided by geographic areas of London, with useful maps plotting the location of the treasure, there is a kicker (introduction) that describes in a few words the treasure in question (“Ancient Egypt embraces the jazz age”). This book is a captivating treasure hunt around the capital for curious history-lovers and travellers alike.
This original article first appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.