Miss Anna Official Picture
Photography Peter Garry (copyrighted by Miss Anna 2019)
Miss Anna Official Picture
Photography Peter Garry (copyrighted by Miss Anna 2019)
Short, Medium, and Long Bios
Miss Anna is a visionary who is passionate about writing stories that provide a bird's eye view of various foundational subjects, one being numbers. Warmth and wit gild the tip of her pen.
Miss Anna is a visionary who is passionate about writing stories that provide a bird's eye view of various foundational subjects. Warmth and wit gild the tip of her pen. She is the author of the much loved The Number Story series and The Shape Stories, stories which serve as a strong foundation for all children being introduced to the world of numbers, shapes, and colors.
Miss Anna is a visionary who is passionate about writing stories that provide a bird's eye view of various foundational subjects. Warmth and wit gild the tip of her pen. She is the author of the much loved The Number Story series, stories which serve as a strong foundation for all children being introduced to the world of numbers, shapes, and colors. Her inspirations come from the joys and also the hurdles she had from schooling her own four children. She understands the real fears children have when they are asked to learn something that is daunting to them or simply disinterests them, and hence crafts a world where fear retreats and the power of childlike curiosity excites the intellect within. Friendly, warm, and welcoming are few of the words that describe this world. Miss Anna envisions a world where children are empowered to learn all the while being true to being a child that they are.
Cheat Sheet for Learning Numbers 0-10
3 Tips to Have Your Child Learn Numbers 0-10 SMILING!
The Tearless and Timeless Way to Teach Numbers
“Which one is number two?” “Don’t you know what two looks like yet?” “I showed it to you just now!” Mommy is frustrated that her Johnny cannot remember which of the sprawls is number two. And little Johnny is sad because his mommy is mad at him and because he too sincerely wants to remember what two looks like. He wants too, he is trying, but it’s just hard. Mommy looks up at the ceiling huffing and puffing. Little Johnny looks down at the activity book, his eyes welling up with tears. Could there be a better way? Is there a better way?
Yes, there is! There is a better way! Here comes Miss Anna’s The Number Story to the rescue!
Even with one reading, Johnny finds the sprawls to be meaningful, and mommy, now equipped with the language to show her Johnny what two looks like, guides and leads him with a jingle in her voice. Mommy is smiling as Johnny points correctly at number two. Little Johnny is beaming. He is confident he can know his numbers now. It was not hard at all. Actually, it was very fun to learn his numbers. Remembering a story is never so hard, especially if it is Miss Anna’s The Number Story!
Here are 3 TIPS to have your child learn numbers 0-10 smiling:
1. Make reading time a snuggle-together time.
Invite your child to a snuggle-together time. Even his/her favorite doll or blanket is welcome. As you read Miss Anna’s The Number Story, enjoy the pictures and the jingles together. Have fun as your child explores through each page. The story is more meaningful to your child because of the warmth of your embrace.
2. Make it a playtime whenever you see numbers.
Your child will start seeing numbers everywhere: elevators, supermarkets, gas stations, books. Provide all or simply a portion of the jingle. You know your child best. You know how much help your child needs. If your child needs a lot of help, do so with a smile. Your child will learn his/her numbers soon enough!
3. Repeat the jingle. DO REPEAT.
There is a saying that goes “Repetition is the mother of learning”. Do keep reminding the child of the jingle. It will help him/her make the correct connection. And the whole process will nurture confidence and introduce to the child the joys of learning.
AN INTERVIEW WITH MISS ANNA
Q & A
Q: Why did you write the Number Story?
A: I wrote it because I couldn't find the book, the resource, my child needed. He could say his numbers, but it was hard for him to recognize which number was which. He didn't even know the number 1. I was surprised to see him struggle so, because he really is a very smart boy. And as a mom and teacher, all moms are teachers, I was struggling too myself because my other two boys didn't have that problem. Somehow, and in time, they just knew their numbers. But every child is wired differently, and John was different. He needed a visual understanding, a hook that he could take hold of. And that's how the idea of the picture-number connection came to be.
Q: What makes the Number Story special?
A: It is a very special book. There is nothing like that in the market right now. As you know, there are a lot, I mean A LOT, of books that present numbers to children, and some are packaged more beautifully than others. Thomas the Train, Sesame Street, Richard Scarry... all these big companies also jumped into the market and published their versions as well. Number learning is undeniably important, and there is a special niche for these books. But that there is so many books on it is quite telling. It really means there hasn't been found a proven way for the child to actually learn their numbers. Until the Number Story came to be, the strategy, the tactic, to present numbers was the same: constant repetition, constant exposure, doing a numbers craft with spaghetti noodles... In another words, by the time a child saw the numbers 0 to 10 one hundred times (that is one hundred books), they would then be able to identify which number was which. Constant repetition is their motto. In this light, the Number Story's approach is very novel and different. It presents the numbers 0-10 with a picture to number connection. A small rhyming jingle helps. And the child gets the connection right away. I mean RIGHT AWAY! It is a very powerful little book.
Q: To you, is learning numbers very important?
A: I believe every educator will have something to say about this topic. I agree with them that learning numbers is very important. We talk, understand, decipher, and explain the world around us in ABCs and in 123s. We are rereading The Phantom Tollbooth (by Dan Juster) with my children, and there we find King Azaz of Dictionopolis and the Mathematician in Digitopolis, the kingdom of letters A-to-Z and the kingdom of numbers. Both are equally important because, again, that's how we process and verbalize the happenings around us. We won't have words like dozens, miles, meters in our vocabulary if we don't grasp some things in terms of numbers.
Q: I heard that you never liked numbers yourself. Do tell me more about it.
A: Yes, I unabashedly declare that I am not a number person. I have never been a number person. I was always, am still is, very slow in calculating. I do not like mental math, and if someone tosses me a problem to calculate, my mind will freeze. That's how much I didn't like math, numbers, or figuring. I cried through algebra, went through the motion in Trigonometry, banged my head in statistics, and eagerly secured a way to escape from taking Calculus. On a positive note, I did like geometry. I believe I didn't like math just because I felt that it was too "calculating". In math, there is one answer, usually only one answer that is correct. There is no room for mistakes. And that to me felt very harsh and quite daunting. But the amazing thing is that I am being healed of my Math Anxiety due to the Number Story. Numbers are my friends now. I am starting to see numbers and math problems in a very different light. It's a STORY. Every number, every math problem is telling a story. When I realized that, I truly felt liberated from the fears I had. I like stories very much, and I believe every child and adults do to. I am even excited to know more about calculus and the stories they tell. Even my vocabulary changed when I am helping my sons with their math. I would ask, "What's going on? What's the story?"
Q: What is your goals, hopes, dreams in writing the Number Story?
A: I do have a hope for the Number Story, and it's that hope that compelled me to publish my first book. I want every child to learn numbers smiling. I want little children to like numbers and be excited to learn about them. I want them to see that numbers can tell the most amazing stories and that numbers can create the most beautiful things. It was those who saw things in numbers that designed the celebrated buildings like Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Even the Titanic was drafted and designed by Sir James Andrews, a mathematician, and it was extremely well built, so well built that it stayed afloat for more than the calculated time. So I do have a lot of hope for these Number Stories. I want children to warm up to math (those who like me are not interested in numbers) and enjoy them and not be nervous in their presence. They are telling a story. And they have so many stories to tell.
Q: You have just released The Shape Story series. What inspired you to write them?
A: I had a story I wanted to write for quite some time. It was to be about colors. I saw that my youngest, Daniel, was never long engaged with books on shapes and colors. We would read it together, and he would lay it aside soon afterwards. I wanted to say 'toss it aside', but I don't think that is appropriate. Hurts the binding, you know. Back to the story, the whole thing made me wonder. How would I present 'colors' to children? So many books have the shades/tints/hues of red clumped together as RED. I thought that was too simplistic. Children can see the differences in the reds. They have eyes to see. Why not introduce the various types of red? Feelings too. We associate certain feelings with certain colors. Why not introduce that as well? That internal conversation I had with myself led to the first draft of the Shape Story. So in actuality, I wrote The Shape Story 3 first. Then, I went on to write The Shape Story 4, which is about how people made colors. I was interested in that subject as well. I had never looked into how cavemen or indigenous people painted the walls or their bodies. I was curious, very curious. And because I had so much exploring the history behind that specific art, I thought that my children will be interested to know about it as well.
Q: You made Shapes the main characters of the story? How did you come up with that idea?
A: Well, shapes were not in my picture when I started to think about this book, these books. The main subject matter was to be about colors. And even my initial title for the story was The Color Story. But I did need characters who will narrate the story. So, I was constantly doodling, trying to create characters that would be just perfect. I showed a furry ball with big eyes and puffy antennas to my son, and he said that it looked like a corona virus. So, that character was thrown out fast. I made several others until I found myself doodling triangles and squares. I added eyes and limbs to the geometric bodies, and I thought they just looked charming. And I liked that fact that they were shapes! It was original and new and perfect for children. So, these shapes came out of the blue, and they beautifully narrated the two stories about colors. But soon, crazy as it seems, they started to ask me if I could write a story about them. I couldn't get that thought out of my mind. I knew I should and that I had to. And I felt I really didn't have a choice. They deserved a story. And that's how The Shape Story 1 was born...and then 2.
Q: So, did Daniel like The Shape Story?
A: Yes, he did! I gave him an exclusive peak to the books. And he loved it! He would knock on every door to see which shape is behind it. That's Shape Story 1. He loved go on the treasure hunt in The Shape Story 2. He wanted me to read the books to him over and over again. I think they gave him such a delight because he could interact with the book. I was beyond words when I saw how engaged he was with the story. All those days and nights writing the story and drawing the pictures... It was worth it all! YAY!
Q: Do you have a favorite among all the stories you have written so far?
A: I really don't. I like all of them just the same. They are ALL my absolute favorites! Each one is a labor of love; truly it is. There is so much creative energy that went into drafting each story--the endless nights and days of mulling over and weighing the choice of each word, the flood of ideas and inspirations that I had to consider, the files and papers of research behind each book, the whole illustrating process. I poured out myself in each one. I have never dreamt of being a writer, and I believe I would have found a way out of being one if I knew just how much it would cost me physically, mentally, monetarily even. But here I am compelled in my heart to grab the pen again and start yet another story. I am very excited really. There is so much joy when I write and draw, and I hope that that ephemeral joy is source of the warmth the stories emanate.
Q: What is the passion that drives you to be who you are today?
A: Education. Education for children. My mind does often ponder about how to make good education accessible to all children. And by education, I am not talking about a literal building called school. I am more talking about "learning" and "the desire to learn". Every child that is born is wired to learn. That is how we relate to ourselves and to the world. We learn not to touch things that are hot because it can be dangerous. We learn not to pet animals in the wild because they can harm us. We learn how to say things nicely and with a please because courtesy and manners make a world a better place to live in. I desire my mind to flow with our natural learning processes, especially a child's learning inclination and willingness to learn. I try to see things in their shoes all the while analyzing what would truly enrich their hearts and inner man. Let's talk about illustrations, for example. As charming as they are, I don't think digital drawings in books and cartoons do edify a child. Yes, they are gaudy, flashy, and loud, but they don't have the effect that the natural lines of pen and ink drawings do have. I do enjoy gazing at pen and ink drawings. I like crayons and colored pens and color pencils. For some reason, those mediums speak to children. Maybe it's the earthiness of it that emanates the feeling of happy warmth. So, for me it's all about tapping into their natural inclination to learn. What will help them learn well, learn with a smile, learn laughing, learn and wanting to learn more...? I want to empower them with the right tools to learn, with the right language, with the right illustrations. And I want them to feel very very good inside when they do learn.