Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Can Animals Really Help Teach Kids Math?

Lizann Flatt, Regional Advisor for SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), stopped by to talk with me today. As she will explain in more detail below, one day she asked herself: “What if animals used math the way kids do?” This simple question led to an association with the animal kingdom in order to help kids understand math concepts more easily.

Lizann has also kindly offered to give away a copy of Sorting Through Spring, to be released soon, so find out how to enter below.

Now, here's Lizann.

LF: Thank you for having me, Ann Marie.

AMM:  It’s my pleasure. Tell me, did you always want to write for children?

LF:   I'd have to say no, I didn't. But that's because I didn't realize the whole genre existed when I first thought I wanted to be a writer. I mean sure, I knew there were books for kids and teens because I'd read many of them when I was growing up, but in my late teens I wasn't thinking I wanted to write specifically for kids, I was just thinking that I liked to write. It wasn't until I started working at Owl and Chickadee magazines that I realized there was this whole thriving world of kids publishing. But once I found that world I knew that it was definitely where I wanted to be writing.

AMM: So what inspired you to write Counting on Fall?

LF:   It was probably when my kids were complaining about their math homework. I got to thinking that people use math ideas in ways we often don't even realize, and I started thinking about how peculiar it would be if animals used math the way people do. Counting on Fall is about counting concepts and fall animal behavior, and the other three forthcoming titles each take a different area of math and pair it with a season. In a very few weeks Sorting Through Spring will be out to explore spring with sorting and patterning ideas.
AMM:  That is such a cool concept, Lizann. Kudos. What would you like young kids to come away with after reading your books?

LF:   I'd like them to have the feeling they've read something fun, that they've thought about counting and how unique it is that we can do that. I guess I want them to think how amazing animals and nature are, even if they don't behave the way we do.

AMM: What is the best part about being a children’s writer?

LF:  I think it's knowing you could really make a positive impact on someone's life if they connect to the book, the subject matter, or the joy of reading through your writing. And when you write for young children you get to work with some amazing illustrators.
AMM:  I completely agree. A good illustrator makes the words on a page come alive. What are you working on now?

LF: I'm working on some other nonfiction picture book ideas as well as a novel which has nonfiction elements in it. It's never easy for me to talk about my works in progress because some of the ideas are loose and hard to make into a succinct description. 
AMM:  I can totally identify with that. One last question then. Can you share some fun facts about yourself?

LF:  Fun facts.... I once watched a turtle lay eggs on my front lawn. My favorite color is yellow. I like to bake. 

Lizann is the author of many nonfiction books and numerous short stories and poems. COUNTING ON FALL is the first of a four-title picture book series on Math in Nature. Her book LET'S GO! THE STORY OF GETTING FROM THERE TO HERE was named the 2009 TD Grade One Giveaway title, so it was given to every grade one child in Canada. Her work has appeared in LADYBUG, BABYBUG, and HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN magazines. 

In what feels like a former life, Lizann was the editor of Canadian children’s magazine CHICKADEE. She has an Honours English degree. Today she lives in rural MuskokaOntario, Canada with her husband and three children.

You can learn more about Lizann on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

And you can find Lizann's books books on Amazon and also here

Now for the giveaway. Remember that with Rafflecopter, you can enter once a day. The person with the most entries will win a copy of Sorting Through Spring.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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