Have you ever tried to read words backwards? I tried it once when I was a kid. My name was Illek. My cat’s backwards name was Niffum, and my favorite food was etalocohc. I went around saying words nobody else understood. It was like speaking my own language.
But then I happened upon some very surprising words that stayed the same when I read them backwards. “Dad” stayed dad and “mom” stayed mom, and even my friend Hannah stayed the same! I didn’t know it then, but I had discovered the very cool world of palindromes.
What is a Palindrome?
Palindromes stay the same when you read them frontwards or backwards. They can be words:
They can be phrases or sentences:
never odd or even
Was it a cat I saw?
Do geese see God?
They can be numbers:
And some palindromes are even the same frontwards, backwards, upside-down, and upside-down backwards:
Palindrome Magic Trick
Here is a trick you can do to turn almost any number into a palindrome. First, think of a number and write it down:
Then, write that number backwards and add the two together:
In some cases, it doesn’t work the first time. When that happens, just keep reversing and adding numbers until you get your palindrome:
Are You a Palindromaniac?
Warning: palindromes can be addictive! Some people start looking for them everywhere and can go a little nuts in the quest for finding palindromes.
You may be at risk of being a palindromaniac if:
- You have friends named Ana, Eve, Izzi, Otto or Bob.
- Your favorite times of day are 10:01, 11:11, 5:55, etc.
- You love to kayak and have always wanted to drive a racecar.
- Your favorite car is a Toyota.
Find Out More
Get your palindromaniac fill with these books and resources:
For young kids: Mom and Dad are Palindromes, by Mark Shulman and Adam McCauley, or If You Were a Palindrome, by Michael Dahl. Both of these fun picture books are a great introduction for kids into the world of palindromes.
For older kids and grown-ups: Jon Agee is the king of palindrome books like Go Hang a Salami, I’m a Lasagna Hog, and Palindromania. Cartoony line drawings are paired with wacky captions for some good fun.