A Triangle for Adaora by Ifeoma Onyefulu is a delightful book that emphasizes several Big Ideas in geometry, including that comparing attributes of shapes helps define and classify them and that two- and three-dimensional shapes can be used to represent and understand the world around us.
Adaora doesn’t want to eat her paw-paw fruit because she loves the shape inside – a star. The conversation with her cousin that ensues sets the stage for an exploration of shape and the search for one shape in particular – a triangle. As Adaora sees that her world is full of shapes and learns the names of these shapes, we also learn about life in a Nigerian village.
As we journey with Adaora and her cousin, we see the rectangle of Uncle Eze’s robe, the circular tops of the elephant drums, and many other beautiful shapes in her world. We see the shapes, but we also see the culture and hear the life of the village. We are drawn in with Adaora on the search for the elusive triangle, and when she finds it, we are able to celebrate with her. Her exploration invites the reader to search their own world for shapes and to see that geometry is all around us.
This book is a wonderful way to connect mathematics with children’s lives. Teachers can explore the culture of the children in their classrooms from a geometric perspective by encouraging the children to identify different shapes unique to their family and discuss the shapes that they have in common. Having collected all this data, don’t forget to graph it to answer the question, “Which shape is most common in everyone’s family?” The results will be both fun and enlightening. Children may eventually be able to come up with additional questions this data can answer.