Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Happy Birthday to Mitsumasa Anno

Mitsumasa Anno was born on this day in 1926. After attending a teacher training college in Japan, he worked as a mathematics teacher before turning to art as a full time endeavor. His works show that he never left this love of math behind, as the mathematical world appears in many of his books. He tackles concepts as simple as counting, to the more difficult idea of factorials, all with an eye towards helping readers understand them. Some of my favorite math books include:
In addition to these books, I often use Anno's Journey and Anno's USA while introducing students to geography and map making. I also love All in a Day, a book illustrated by 10 artists, including Mitsumasa Anno, Raymond Briggs, Eric Carle and others, that illustrates the similarities and differences in children and their activities in eight different parts of the world throughout one 24-hour day.

Mitsumasa Anno was honored for his work with the 1984 Hans Christian Anderson Award. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art hosted the first major exhibition of Anno's work in America in 2003. You can learn more about the artist in the interview he gave in the winter 2004 edition of Japanese Children's Books. You can see his work in Shimane, Japan at the Anno Museum of Art.

Celebrate the birthday of this wonderful artist by reading one of his books. They are marvelous celebrations of the world (both natural and mathematical) around us. Happy birthday, Anno!

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