Happy Pi Day, parents, librarians, book fanatics, writers, and readers of all sorts! We are absolutely thrilled to have NYTs Bestselling Author, Nancy Krulik, and Pixel and Ink editor, Alison Weiss, with us today. They are here for a joint interview sharing their chapter book series, The Great Mathemachicken! The Great Mathemachiken (Illustrated by Charlie Alder) follows Chirpy, a very smart chicken, as she shows off her cool math skills in various funny and punny adventures. Want to know more about Nancy, Alison, and Chirpy, PLUS want some tips on submitting to Pixel + Ink and a chance to win signed copies of this adorable series? Read on...
Hi, Nancy and Alison! Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit today. We are so excited to have you both and get a closer look at The Great Mathemachicken. I mean, seriously, what better way to celebrate Pi Day than with a math-loving chicken?
Question (Nancy): Can you tell us more about how you came up with the idea for The Great Mathemachicken?
A: It all came straight from the mouth of one of my son Ian’s good friends, Zach. In second grade he insisted that the reason Ian kept getting 100 on his math tests was that his grandfather was a great mathemachicken. I keep a lot of journals of ideas and I scribbled the word mathemachicken in one of them–although at the time I had no idea what I would do with it. Years later, when it was time for me to come up with a new series idea, The Great Mathemachicken was right there waiting for me, and Chirpy was born. That’s why keeping a journal of ideas is so important.
Question (Alison): What drew you into this witty and intelligent story? Was it love at first read?
A: Nancy had already sold Mathemachicken to Pixel+Ink’s editor-in-chief, Bethany Buck, when I joined the coop, but I loved its silly and smart approach from the start. This is actually my second series working with Nancy. We did six books in the Project Droid series together. So getting to work with her again has been an absolute dream.
What a fun background! And how cool is it that you get to work with each other again?
Question (Nancy): What kind of math problems will Chirpy, your main character, solve in book 1 and book 2?
A: Problem solving is Chirpy’s specialty. While in school she learns about simple machines, skip counting, and fractions. But that knowledge wouldn’t do her much good if she wasn’t able to apply it to the real life difficulties in the coop. That’s where problem solving comes in. She figures out ways to use her knowledge to save her frenemy Clucky, and make sure everyone in the coop has their fair share of their chicken feed.
Question (Alison): What’s your favorite part about each book?
A: Not going to lie. I love the puns. Nancy is very punny. But I also really enjoy Chirpy’s determination and drive. She loves to learn and she makes readers want to know more, too.
Question (Nancy): Can you share your favorite illustration from the series with the readers?
A: Charlie Alder is a brilliant illustrator, and she has a great sense of humor, so it’s hard to pick just one. But I must say there is a scene in Hide and Go Beak where the chicks have all over-eaten and there’s one chicken with a tummy ache that is beyond hysterical. Look for it. It’s on page 14.
We can't wait to check this out! Readers, click here to purchase a copy of Nancy's book, Hide and Go Beak!
Question (Alison): What do you love most about Charlie Adler’s illustrations?
A: I love the energy of Charlie’s work. They have so much joy and, as Nancy says, they’re really funny. She really welcomes readers into the story, and I think that makes them want to come back for more.
Question (Nancy): What hooks does The Great Mathemachicken offer readers? Did you consciously weave these in or were they a natural result of your story idea?
A: Shell I start with the many eggs-amples of chicken humor sprinkled throughout the books? I love to make kids crack up. In truth, I just put the puns in as an eggs-tra layer of humor, because Charlie’s art is so hilarious and I am pretty much known for writing funny books, but the chicken yolks seem to be what readers, teachers, and reviewers seem to love most of all.
Question (Alison): The Great Mathemachicken is a perfect series! What tips do you have for someone looking to pitch a series to Pixel+Ink?
A: Because of our transmedia focus, we’re really interested in commercial stories that have broad audience appeal. We’re looking for compelling characters with lots of world to explore. We don’t expect you to have all the books in the series written, but it’s a good idea to have a clear vision for where your characters could go in future books. It’s helpful to have a few ideas worked out with maybe a paragraph you can share on each.
Question (Nancy): How do you think Chirpy will help readers improve their math skills?
A: My hope is that kids will discover that math and science are all around them, whether it’s in the pizza they have for dinner or the swings and slides they play on during recess. And I hope they will apply the information they gain from the books in their own lives. I believe one of the most important outcomes of math education is knowing how and when to apply the information they’ve gained in school to issues they may face in their own lives.
Question (Alison): Why is this adorable series perfect for any school or home library collection?
A: I think what makes The Great Mathemachicken work so well is that it’s pure fun, which gets kid readers excited to read the books. But it’s also chock full of sneaky learning, so parents, educators, and librarians can feel proud that they’re getting kids thinking about science and math and get them excited to want to explore more.
Thanks so much for such a fun and informative interview, Nancy and Alison! We loved the insight you both provided and can't wait to check out The Great Mathemachicken!
BONUS: Pi Day Giveaway!
Nancy and Alison have offered to give away a signed copy of books one and two!
Giveaway Details: To enter to win:
1) Leave a comment below and thank Nancy and Alison for stopping by and
2) Share a funny Pi Day, pie, or math joke!
The winner will be chosen on or about Tuesday, 3/21!
*Note: books will be shipped in the US only.
About Nancy Krulik:
Nancy Krulik is the internationally bestselling author of more than 250 books for children. Her series include The Great Mathemachicken, Princess Pulverizer, Katie Kazoo Switcheroo, George Brown Class Clown, Magic Bone, Ms. Frogbottom’s Field Trips and How I Survived Middle School. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, composer Daniel Burwasser and their rescue Lhasa Apso, Scooby. Follow Nancy on her website at www.realnancykrulik.com
To purchase Nancy's books, or to leave a review for them, click here.
About Alison Weiss:
Alison Weiss has been in publishing for almost fifteen years. She is currently acquisitions editor at Pixel+Ink (part of the Trustbridge Media Group), a publisher focused exclusively on series publishing with transmedia potential. Her series include The Curious League of Detectives and Thieves by Tom Phillips, Plotting the Stars by Michelle A. Barry, The Recess Genius by Janet Sumner Johnson, illustrated by Stacy Ebert, and the forthcoming Clara Poole by Taylor Tyng and The Sinister Secrets of Singe by Sean Ferrell, illustrated by Graham Carter. Alison ran her own editorial consultancy, working with publishers including Simon & Schuster, Audible, and Arctis, as well as private clients, and was editorial director at Sky Pony Press, where her list included William C. Morris Finalist Devils Within by S.F. Henson, the Project Droid series by New York Times bestselling author Nancy Krulik and Amanda Burwasser, illustrated by Mike Moran, the Timekeeper trilogy by Tara Sim, and the Mahabharata-inspired Celestial Trilogy by Sangu Mandanna. In 2016 she was named a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. She’s been trying to live up to the title ever since. You can follow her on Twitter @alioop7 and learn more about Pixel+Ink at www.pixelandinkbooks.com.
To scroll through their amazing catalog or to purchase Pixel + Ink's books, click here.