# Empower Future Generations

1 2 3 Count with Me on Granddad’s Farm follows a family who visit the family farm for the day and learn about different activities that go on there. What was the inspiration for your story?

My passion and purpose is to inspire, teach, and empower future generations. This story was inspired by summers on my grandfather’s farm and pays tribute to the special bond between children and their grandfathers. The concept of the book is based on my work with young mathematicians in grades K-6 as an Elementary Mathematics Specialist (and former classroom teacher). And, I dedicated this book to my Aunt Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician and Hidden Figure, because she loved to count.

What were some educational aspects that were important for you to include in this children’s book?

I want everyone to love math, so I’m writing math-themed children’s books to help ignite a love for math in all children.

The two important educational aspects included in this book—teach math and empower parents to support learning at home with tips, tools, and hands-on tasks. Parental involvement helps to increase student engagement and academic achievement. Parents can also help make learning less scary by practicing math at home. Learning to count is more than just memorizing and calling out numbers. The book’s back matter helps little ones develop (and reinforce) a strong foundation in counting and quantity by engaging in meaningful learning experiences (i.e. practicing the counting sequence, counting a collection, matching the number words with the objects being counted, exploring the idea of more or less, etc.) with visual supports.

The Discussion Starters, questions in the back of the book, help young readers comprehend and analyze the story for deeper meaning. The visual models (counting dots, fingers, animals, etc.) on the following pages help little ones to dive deeper into counting and reasoning mathematically.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Cee Biscoe?

Illustrating my picture book went through a lot of stages and took many months to complete.

First, I sent my manuscript to Cee Biscoe along with other background information so that she could start imagining how everything would look. Over the next several weeks, we collaborated on character development. Then, she drew pencil sketches of the characters and animals. Next, she planned what to show on each page of the story (to determine if there would be single or double-page spreads). Then, she created the thumbnail sketches, rough sketches, and full-size sketches. Revisions also occurred during that time. Once the page layouts (text placement and illustrations) were finalized, she painted the final artwork on large sheets of watercolor paper using gouache paint.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I love fractions and sweet potato pie. And, I’m using both to ignite a love of fractions with a heartwarming story about friendship, sharing, and grandparents — which was inspired by the classic book The Doorbell Rang. This picture book will introduce young readers to basic fraction concepts. I hope to have my next picture book available next year.