Hi STEM Sparker readers! How are you doing this week? I hope you are doing well. We're feeling a little sleep deprived this week, as our new puppy Panda likes to wake us up at 5 am! I'm lucky though: Bobby is the one who gets out of bed and takes her for a walk. I get to fall back asleep. And speaking of dogs, I'm thrilled this week to be interviewing author Gabi Snyder on the blog! Gabi has a new counting book out, called TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE STEM Sparkers, let's give a big, warm welcome to Gabi!
1) I'm very excited about your recent math book, TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE! Could you
please tell us a bit about it?
Thanks so much for featuring my debut picture book on your fabulous blog!
TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE, illustrated by Robin Rosenthal and recently out from Abrams
Appleseed, starts with a gate left open and a dog escaping her yard to join a poodle on
a trike. Soon it’s three dogs on a scooter and then four dogs on a bike. With each new
mode of transportation, a new dog is added to the fun. But what the pups fail to notice is
that the original dog’s family cat is in hot pursuit.
I love Robin Rosenthal’s illustrations and the 80's retro vibe she achieved. My favorite
spread comes when we reach “10 dogs,” and there’s a realization. That last animal? Not
a dog! The revelation spread and the one that follows are my favorite parts of the story.
And while my illustration notes made clear who that not a dog is, I didn’t
specify where we are. Robin’s illustration for that spread is hilarious and unexpected!
2) What inspired you to write a children's math book?
When my kids were little, they LOVED counting books. I think it’s because after a few
readings, they were able to count along as I read and gained confidence in their
growing math skills. Reading a counting book is a wonderful way to learn or practice
early math skills without feeling like you’re practicing!
I hope readers will come away feeling the joy of these adventuring dogs. I hope they’ll
laugh at the canine chaos and be surprised by the determined, resourceful cat. It would
also be lovely if the book helps child readers learn how to count up to 10 and
back down again!
3) What has been a rewarding writing experience for you?
It was rewarding to write something that was inspired, in part, by my own experiences.
My second picture book, LISTEN, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, will be out in spring
2021 from Simon &Schuster/Wiseman. LISTEN begins with noise: the BEEP! WOOF!
ERNT-ERNT! VROOM! of a busy morning, and draws the reader closer as it
encourages listening to quieter and quieter sounds. It encourages mindfulness and not
only hearing, but really listening, paying attention to the quiet, and even silence, around
and within you. I drafted LISTEN because as both a child and an adult, I’ve sometimes
felt overwhelmed by too much noise around me. I hope that LISTEN will help kids who
sometimes feel overwhelmed and will inspire kids and adults to tune into the world
4) And what has been a challenging writing experience, and how did you
Sometimes I have a story idea that is so shiny and beautiful in my head, but when I draft
it, the words on paper just don’t match that glorious vision in my head. I think most
creators have this experience. The answer, I believe, is to persevere. Know that first
drafts are often terrible. And then revise. Revise. Let the draft rest for a bit. Revise
again. Share with trusted critique partners. Revise. And repeat as necessary. Not every
story will be successful and it’s important to keep writing new work, keep trying new
things. But the overall solution is to keep practicing!
5) If a child was struggling with math, what words of encouragement do you have
Just like writers need to keep practicing to improve, mathematicians need to keep
practicing as well. I’d also encourage kids not to be afraid to make mistakes! Making
mistakes is how we grow and learn, so try not to be too discouraged by mistakes. I
would also encourage kids to look for new ways to approach the concepts that are
giving them trouble. Are there math games that will help practice those particular skills?
If a child has been practicing entirely with pencil and paper, are there math
manipulatives she can use to help make concepts that may seem abstract more
concrete? There are many different methods for learning the same concept!
Gabi, that is great advice! We've certainly made our share of mistakes here on STEM Spark-- I lost count on how many times we had to redo this science experiment. But practice and trying new ways is what helps us grow as mathematicians, scientists, writers; as humans.
Thanks you so much Gabi for being on our blog! And to learn a little bit more about Gabi Snyder check out her bio and social media:
Reader. Writer. Lover of chocolate. Gabi’s debut picture book, TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE, is out now (May 2020) from Abrams Appleseed, and her second picture book, LISTEN, will be out in spring 2021 from Simon & Schuster/Wiseman. Gabi lives in Oregon with her family, including one daredevil dog and the cat who keeps everyone in line.
Her website is: https://gabisnyder.com/
And check out these fun GIPHY's from TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE illustrator, Robin Rosenthal. https://giphy.com/robinrosenthal