Brown Paper School

“Accept no substitutes for fun.”  Quote taken from the back of a Brown Paper School book.  I just ordered some used copies of a few more titles out of this series and am anxiously awaiting their arrival from Amazon – some of them were a penny each, so it seems these have been around for a while – and have been well-read.  What I am struck by in the reviews of these books is that when someone read these during childhood, the ideas and information stayed with the person into adulthood and made a lasting impression.  One person stated that Marilyn’s books impacted her attitude about math to the extent that she became a mathematician when she grew up!  Many have read these books over and over, gleaning new and wonderful things each time, I’m sure.  I am entirely impressed with their books on math and time and wanted to add more of them to the collection.  They list ages 9-12 as the most appropriate, but surely forty-year olds can fit under that umbrella, too!

I’ll list the titles that I know about in this post.  Try the library first – see if you like them, and then by all means, buy them for your shelves.  These are often available on eBay.  Here is the rest of the verbage taken from the back of the This Book’s About Time book:

“The Brown Paper School is a series of small books about big ideas, written and designed for kids and grownups together.  The series comes from a group of California teachers, writers, and artists who get together every now and then to work on stuff for kids and to have a good time.  They believe that learning can happen anywhere, and that it doesn’t require fancy tools.  This book and the others in the series are dedicated to anyone who thinks so, too.”

On with greatness!  Here are the titles I’m aware of, but you can bet I’ll be hunting for more……..

Click on the books or the pictures to link to Amazon for more information

about time

I hate math

smarty pants math

book of think

backyard history


making cents bps


night sky

everybody's a winner

And the titles for which I could not locate pictures:

Beastly Neighbors:  All About Wild Things in the City, or Why Earwigs Make Good Mothers

The Big Beast Book:  Dinosaurs and How They Got That Way

Gee Whiz!  How to Mix Art and Science, or The Art of Thinking Scientifically

The Book of Where:  How to Be Naturally Geographic

The Reasons for the Seasons:  The Great Cosmic Megagalactic Trip Without Moving from Your Chair

Make Mine Music!

I am Not a Short Adult:  Getting Good at Being a Kid

Only Human:  Why We Are the Way We Are

Word Works:  Why the Alphabet is a Kid’s Best Friend

And finally, here is a link that leads to a page containing most, if not all, of the math books for kids by Marilyn Burns.  She is a cornerstone in the Brown Paper School book movement, a teacher, and an author.  She teaches teachers how to teach math and is well-known and respected as an educator.

If you’d like to learn more about Ms. Burns, you can find that information here:

(funny how Scholastic doesn’t mention her involvement with Brown Paper School publishing…hmm)