Here is the interview with the AF paper. I thought the reporter asked some great questions, so I put them here:
How did the idea come to you to create this type of book for children?
Actually, I love writing about science within a fictional plot. I noticed that Charlesbridge wanted this type of book, so I started submitting to them. They liked my writing style and asked me to try writing math adventures. I got lucky because they liked the first one I submitted to them! The idea came from one of my writing friends, Katherine Rollins. She told me that I should use a spin off of a fairytale, so I thought of the idea to use magic and multiply things. I knew this would create funny scenarios within a fairytale kingdom setting. Rumpelstiltskin was a perfect enemy-he had all the qualities I was looking for and all the magical capabilities. Once I decided on the fairytale, it practically wrote itself!
What's the biggest benefit children gain from having this type of book to learn from?
As much as I hate to say this, most children think that math is boring or difficult. But what's so wonderful about a book like this is that it shows that math is actually fun and exciting! It also uses mathematical thinking as opposed to just memorizing a bunch of math facts. Once a child understands how multiplication works, they can more readily use it. For example, my then-eleven year old daughter was having trouble with percentages. I forced her to read one of Charlesbridge's math adventures (she thought she was too old for picture books). After she'd read it, she understood them and could go back and complete her math page with ease. I hope that my book will help children see the concept of multiplication without actually knowing that they are learning! Parents and teachers can also use some of the situations as math problems. Children will have fun figuring out what multiplication magic Rumpelstiltskin used to create the numbers of pests or decrease the amount of animals.
I understand that you are also the author of "The Mat Maker." Is that a similar learning book for children like "Multiplying Menace?"
It is historical fiction-it is set on the island of Guam in the 1600's. It is an emergent reader-for children who have just learned to read and need practice. So it is similar in the fact that it is a tool used for learning. I love writing about things that will help children's literacy and enhance their knowledge of the world. That's why I became a children's author. I praise God for allowing me to achieve my dreams!
What is your background with learning and children? Are you an educator or are your books a natural creation that makes leaning fun for children?
I am a science teacher by trade and education. I taught high school Chemistry and Physics. Initially, I wanted to write fictional science books, but because we've traveled the world, I also wanted to show some of the unique cultures out there through my writing. I have a passion for children. I hope that comes through in my writing.
You are donating a portion of proceeds from the sale of your book to the base library for the purchase of children's books. What is the importance of that for the children who will benefit?
I want to encourage families while I'm here. Giving children the love of reading is a key to all learning. I'd like to see the Book Mark buy more award winning novels and picture books. There's nothing better than seeing a child squeal with delight when they read a funny picture book or anticipate an exciting journey. What more could I give?