Me + Math = Magic Interview & Giveaway

July 16th, 2010 in Giveaways

Today I am interviewing the author and illustrator of the Me+Math=Magic Books. At the END of the interview, leave a comment to have a chance to win their full line of books!

Vanessa: Why did you decide to get into the business of children’s books?  Tell us more about your line of books!

Annette (Author): I have spent most of my life raising and teaching children in many capacities. I loved reading as a child, because it provided me the opportunity to escape into another world. Even as an adult, I still love children’s books. My children could attest to the fact that we spent countless hours at the library and even more time reading at home.

This past fall, I was asked to be a long-term substitute in a Kindergarten class for a teacher on maternity leave. The teacher ended up having her baby 5 weeks early, before any plans had been made for her absence. Very early one morning, I got a phone call letting me know that beginning that day, I would be teaching her Title I Kindergarten class for the next three months. Most of her students scored well below average in pre-screening for kindergarten, so I faced a huge challenge. I quickly discovered that fitting in everything the kids needed in a half-day of Kindergarten was practically impossible. I also noticed a huge emphasis on language arts, while math was just fit in whenever time could be found (which was rare). My daughter is the math specialist at the school I was working at, so I was very aware of the challenges faced when math is not taught adequately. I began looking for ways to teach math alongside language arts and found that there really are not that many resources for teaching these concepts on a Kindergarten level. So, I decided to develop my own!

We have published 5 picture books, each focusing on a specific math concept from the Kindergarten curriculum. Although they were developed for Kindergarten, we have also found that the concepts overlap and work well in preschool and first grade as well. Each book uses rhyming verse to tell a cute story that teaches the concept. At the end of each book, there is an activity page for parents to interact with their children and the book. We have also published a companion resource book for teachers that includes full lesson plans and extensions to integrate math into their curriculum (see below for more details).

Vanessa: How do you feel your books help children learn as well as help the parents or teachers teach?

Annette (Author): Although I developed these in a teaching setting, I wanted them to be parent friendly as well. At the end of each picture book, there is an activity page for parents. This page gives parents ideas of how to extend the ideas in the book into conversations and activities with their children that will continue to teach math and language concepts. Each idea is simple and easy to do at home. My hope is that parents will be motivated to be more involved in teaching their children these basic concepts at home so they can be more successful in school and in life.

The teaching resource book that accompanies the five picture books is chock full of ideas for teachers. My daughter, the math specialist, co-authored this resource book with me. Because we found a lack of resources for teaching these basic math concepts, we tried to create a new resource for teachers that would offer multiple ways to teach one concept. We have tried to make the resources extremely teacher friendly. For each picture book, there is a full lesson plan and assessment, plus five to ten extension ideas of how to integrate that math concept into literacy, art, P.E., and music.

Vanessa: What future goals do you have for your business? Any future books or products that will be released soon?

Annette: We are constantly looking for more ways to expand our business and get our products out to more parents and teachers. We are currently selling our books in seven bookstores along the Wasatch Front and in Park City. We have also worked with multiple schools to get our books into the classroom, and are constantly looking for more teachers to work with.

We have five more picture books in the works and are hoping to publish them by the end of this year or the beginning of next year. These five books will complete most of the Kindergarten curriculum. In the future, we hope to move up into other grade levels to create resources for children of all ages.

Vanessa: Tell us about the illustrations in the book.  What was your goal with the illustrations in each book?

Megan (Illustrator): Annette and I worked very closely on the illustrations to match them with the text. We wanted to show the math concept through the illustrations, in addition to the text on the page. I also tried to use characters that children would love, such as animals and kids like them. Most of the books also have elements in the illustrations that extend the math concept beyond the text on the page, such as the hidden ladybug on each page of Willie Whale, Where Are You?, which allows children to talk about the position of the ladybug as well as the position of the whale.

Vanessa: How do you feel the illustrations in the book teach the children who read them the concept of patterns, counting, sorting, color words, numbers, position words and shapes?

Megan (Illustrator): The illustrations give kids a visual representation of each math concept, so they can see what’s happening rather than just hear it explained. Because we chose characters and situations that kids can relate to, the math concepts naturally appear in the illustrations. Even before kids can read the words on the page, they can begin learning the math concept by looking at the pictures and having parents or teachers point out the concepts being taught. An example of this is in Can Polly’s Pattern Win the Prize?, where many different patterns are introduced. Kids can look at the patterns on each page and compare similar or different patterns throughout the book. As parents and teachers help kids see these patterns, they can begin to understand this basic math concept.

The girls love these books.  I love these books.  They have our seal of approval! Thanks for the great interview, ladies!  And now, let’s do the giveaway!

To have the chance to win the line of their Me + Math = Magic Books, YOU MUST:

Comment on THIS Post on THIS Website

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This Giveaway Closes on Saturday, July 23rd at 7pm MST. Good Luck!< >< ><–>

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