Thursday, November 12, 2015

Book Fair time!

Hello everyone,
So sorry, sometimes weeks go by and I haven't put up a post.  Last week I got to go to Los Feliz, CA to a book fair at Franklin Elementary.  It was super fun and I'm happy that I was able to be there.
Here is my little set up at the side of the stage.
 There is the collection of my books in the auditorium section with all the other books.
 I read my book three times Thursday afternoon and this was the last one and with the least kids, but boy were they into the book!  Kids reactions are the best!
I had a handful of sales that day, but I took away some great info!  Every time I mentioned that I am the author of the book it piqued people's interest.  Also, when I read to a smaller group I saw more sales.  When I did two of the readings, they were to a large group and it appeared passive--the kids didn't convince their parents to buy it either, but when it was more interactive for a smaller group, I sold more copies.

Well, I learned some good things and I'm so excited to get to go to Elementary schools and share my book and help kids enjoy practicing math.  I sent out 100 mailers over the last few weeks and I hope those schools will take me up on the visit : )

Stay warm everyone!

Monday, October 26, 2015

A few literacy sites, Starfall & Sightwords

Today I thought I would just let you know of a few literacy sites and ones that have good resources.

One that my kids love and have loved since they were little is  It used to all be free and those things are still free but they have also expanded and made a larger section that you can access with subscription.  My kids favorites this time of year is putting the face on the pumpkin.

The next one is  They are a bit newer but is a great site packed with information on getting your child to read and a smaller section on math.

There are free and printable materials designed to promote learning in the classroom and at home. The site's features include:
•  A Curriculum covering the full range of Phonological and Phonemic Awareness
•  Classroom-tested Lessons based on the latest research, complete with “how-to” videos
•  Printable picture cards, word lists, and game boards
•  Teaching Tips for tailoring games to the specific needs of your students

I haven't used it a ton, but there is a wealth of information on there.  My four year old is sure to benefit from this!

Till next time...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Barnes & Noble wants my book, but...

I was so excited to get the letter from Barnes and Noble after submitting to their small press department.  It has some good news--they would love to buy copies of my book!  The bad news--they only take books from book distributors and wholesalers, which they attached a spreadsheet of 10 distributors and 3 wholesalers.

Distributors take a large percentage of the book cost, but they also advertise the book for you, so hopefully more copies of your book would be sold.  Book wholesalers house your book and have it in their catalogue so if a school, library, or bookstore wants to buy it they can.

Besides the large fee to set up an account with Baker & Taylor (my preferred book wholesaler) I also want to make look more professional.  I decided to run another crowdfunding campaign!  Hence you will see the campaign in the upper right : ).

At first I was going to go with Kickstarter again, but then I looked into Indiegogo... They have some features that I really liked, mainly the flexible pay and the extended 'InDemand' so people can purchase even after the campaign is over.

So here it is...

My Indiegogo campaign to raise money for a redesigned website for and to pay for set up fees so The Pancake Menu can get into libraries and bookstores!

Please considering supporting by purchasing a book for
  • You, your kids or grand-kids
  • Other family members
  • Your local elementary school
  • Your elementary school you attended as a child
  • Anyone who has kids ages 6-11!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Now I'm reviewing books, link to the review for This is NOT a Math Book

Hey everyone!

I've had a good amount of things happening lately.  I went to a local SCBWI event in Orange County called Editors Day and I met Ronna.  She has a great children's book review site called that she started years ago.  I mentioned to her about my book and showed her The Pancake Menu, but she said she doesn't review independent books but if I wanted to post a review I can put my bio and links there.

I thought that would be great, at first thinking I would just review once.  Then I found out she would love to have someone to go over math related books that come her way--so now I am a book reviewer too!

Here is the link to my first review:

The publisher, Kane Miller, does not put their books on Amazon but there is a link to buy it in the review directly from Usborne (which Kane Miller is the imprint of).

It was fun to review and I look forward to seeing what other math related books come out.  I might also be doing some crafting and cooking ones as well as a few books I think my little kids might like.

Oh, and in other news--I am going to be selling my book at a local Elementary School book fair in about three weeks!  It is in connection with Skylight Books located in Los Angeles.  I'm super excited to have my book in their store!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What One Mother Experienced after Discovering Her Child was Suffering from Dyscalculia (A Math Disability)

Let me introduce Zyana Morris, a passionate blogger who loves to write on disciplines such as health care and lifestyle.  She is a featured author at various blogs and a staff writer at, a Tampa urgent care provider.  She reached out to me and wanted to share her story about her son and Dyscalculia.  Here is her story, which she hopes will help others.
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Seven years ago was the time when I started hearing from John’s teachers that he is not behaving like other children, that he is not able to keep up with other children, that something might be bothering him due to which he is not able to concentrate, that math seemed to be the worst ghost ever that existed in his world! Not only there, but when I used to sit with him to make him complete his homework, I could just feel that something was not working right. Yes, my child was not being able to pick basic mathematical concepts. He really could not. I eventually took him to the doctors for a thorough check up and what triggered me was proven to be right! Some disability…
I found out that my child was suffering from math disability, in complex terms “Dyscalculia”, an issue that causes severe difficulties in learning mathematics. I felt nothing more than shattered and broken completely.
4-6% children suffer from this math disability. The ratio seems too little to be negligible, but who would even imagine that the young ones you care for everyday would be caught by it? I wondered what he or I did wrong that he became the one to suffer.
I remember when I was young, I had to face certain uncertainties in life that led me to severe depression, but I was glad that after years of struggling I was able to help myself, stand up and live life again. I did not want my child to go through the same, the reason though being different. This was the time when I felt a little contented about what I went through, and I did not want my child to suffer and react the same way.
There was no one in the family I could recall having such issues to believe that it was hereditary. It broke me even more when I found out it has happened due to brain development issues. At that moment, the only words that kept triggering my mind were, “I wish I could donate math knowledge to my child, he is way too precious to me... I only wished I could.”
Since it was the time of his life where a child is encouraged to study (being the most important phase of life), what I wanted to make him learn was that grades don’t matter. I never wanted him to stand out in school to, but to learn and understand the concepts well. Furthermore, I decided to take help to an educational psychologist. She being a professional knew obviously much more than me. She took tests and evaluated John’s condition and confirmed that he has math disability. I was disheartened but she was a great support for me and John, and would come to help him with this situation. She taught me how to deal with John's situation. The only thing I kept in mind was consistency, confidence and not to lose hope.
By keeping notes of what I figured out was bothering him helped me and John to get encouraged, and to work on his weaknesses. These notes were always helpful to remind me what should be focused on in particular, and work on accordingly.
Thanks to his teachers who have been very cooperative and understanding to what my child was going through. Their help and support has been a great contribution for him, to turn his math disability to an ability to do math. When I felt my world would fall apart, I got support from his teachers and psychologist.
I asked John to practice in front of me, obviously keeping in mind that he doesn’t feel burdened. Practice and drilling (with patience in mind) helped him a lot to get better on his weaknesses. Whenever I could, I tried that he mingle with his group mates and don’t feel left out. Even though that’s a difficult thing for such children, but I always encouraged him that he could do it.
Problems and complicated situations, one after the other, kept haunting my mind and what I could see in the future was only the conditions related to the math disability (i.e. medical conditions that co-exists with it like ADHD and dyslexia). This happened during the time I started reading about dyscalculia and that if I could share my experiences on the internet.
All the extra time given to my child at school was really worth the help. Children usually panic when it’s time to hand over their exam papers to their teachers and when they know they still have a little left to complete. For my child these normal conditions that children face were not even real. He needed time to understand, understand other things that were normally understood more easily by other children. This led a fear in me that my child, not being able to explain, might lose self-esteem and confidence and consider himself unusual among his peers. I was also worried as any other parent may be.  I did not want my child to feel special in any way. I wanted him to stay with other children, study among them, and get along with them. All thanks to his teacher’s patience and support, she helped me develop confidence in myself too. I was able to help my child with an even more positive attitude.
Here is what I learned about the signs and symptoms that my child suffered through and what I learned over the internet to help my child overcome it. I hope you all will find it useful to analyze if you feel that there’s something wrong with your child.
  • Children facing a math disability are not able to understand and memorize basic mathematical concepts and computations. (I have seen John suffering from this.)
  • They might feel overburdened while solving questions that include multiple steps and understanding reasonable methods. (It was very depressing seeing John getting demotivated over such a little thing.)
  • Long worksheets might also make them feel burdened as they lack the capacity of remembering and handling mathematical operations. (Worksheets with a lot of work always scared John.)
  • Counting becomes a trouble for them and they cannot recognize and relate the number symbols and words. (The initial times were difficult for John to count the numbers, even from 1 -10.)
  • Solving word problems becomes a great problem sometimes. They are not able to pick what’s important and how it needs to be solved. Verbal explanations usually do not work as they are not able to follow and recall. (During those times, John was really not able to work over them.)
  • Some children with a math disability might not be able to speak, read and write properly. They aren’t able to follow the directions or write correctly in straight lines or columns. (He was given graph papers to solve things which also led him to learn and write on the lines.)
  • Children with a math disability face difficulties recognizing shapes, their dimensions, graphs and charts. (We trusted and supported John and made him practice learning through drawings, paper crafts and solid objects to recognize them.)
  • Activities that require speed and distance are usually avoided by them. They lack confidence in it and are usually not able to cope up with others in this regard. (I always encouraged John to keep trying even if he is working slow.)
It’s been seven years now.  Today I am really glad that John has been able to cover up his disabilities and he is working quite well in mathematics. I am hopeful that these hindrances will not come in his future and even if they do, I will always work harder than ever to assist him to overcome them.
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Thank you for sharing your experiences Zyana.  I know life can be hard, but when we are able to get help when we need it, it is quite a blessing.
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