Floor de Goede, Ionica Smeets en Edward van de Vendel

Rekenen voor je leven

A unique combination of a warm-hearted story about a school class and arithmetic fun in comic-book form

Writer Edward van de Vendel, illustrator Floor de Goede and the most famous mathematician in the Netherlands, Ionica Smeets, have joined forces to show how closely life and maths are connected, in this book told from the perspective of a primary-school class.

The starting point for this sparkling book is the class’s dissatisfaction with maths. The children think their lessons are totally boring and old-fashioned. ‘What do those sums have to do with our lives?’ they wonder. Their teachers come up with a suggestion for alternative lessons: every week, one of the twenty-two students is allowed to devise a maths question based on their own life.

In enthusiastic language, Van de Vendel then sketches a lively picture of a happy and diverse class. All the children and their life stories are featured, and Smeets bases fun maths lessons on them. For example, Romée wants to know, as she is trying to wash away her first heartbreak in the bath, if it’s possible to fill a bathtub with tears. Patrick, whose dad is a pilot, asks the question: ‘What if someone built a bridge from the Earth to the moon and we started walking now, would we get there before we’re old?’ And Jens, who is struggling to cope with his divorced mum and dad, wants to know how many houses there would be for refugees if all divorced parents moved back in together.

The clear explanations are humorously presented in De Goede’s comic-style illustrations, as he imaginatively plays with reality. For Sven’s question about whether peeing in the shower is good for the environment, we see a cartoon of the teacher peeing, but also a visual explanation of the average person’s water usage per day, illustrated with icons of showers, toilets and washing machines. And when the class calculates how much people could lift if they had the strength of ants, we see the teacher raising a small elephant over his head!

The arts of storytelling and maths and words and pictures are effortlessly combined in this wide-ranging book. No one will ever find maths boring again.

A lively, varied, and above all very cheerful ensemble book.

NRC Handelsblad

A playful and energetic book, in which numbers and children come to life.


The longest story sum you’ve ever read, but also the most fun.


Floor de Goede

Floor de Goede (1980), bij het lezerspubliek ook bekend als Flo, is illustrator en striptekenaar. Hij debuteerde in 2002 in het homojongerenmagazine Expreszo. Een jaar later startte hij een dagelijkse, autobiografische strip op, die ook in een papieren versie wordt uitgegeven. Flo

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Ionica Smeets

Ionica Smeets (b. 1979) is a Dutch mathematician, science journalist, columnist, television presenter and professor in science communication at Leiden University.

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Edward van de Vendel

Edward van de Vendel (b. 1964) trained to be a teacher before becoming a writer. He has won several Zilveren Griffel awards, the Woutertje Pieterse Prize and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis.

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Rekenen voor je leven (2021). Kinder- en jeugdboeken, 275 pagina's.

Age: 10+
17 x 23.5 cm

Thema's: wiskunde


English (PDF document)



Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 130
1012 SH Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 623 47 44
Fax: +31 20 620 71 35

[email protected]

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