Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Making Math Cool with Ms R's Class

Today's guest post is courtesy of author Gillian O'Reilly, author of The Great Number Rumble and Slangalicious.

This is Pascal's Triangle, created by the amazing Grade 3/4 students in Nancy Rawlinson's class at Davisville Public School in Toronto:

Pascal's Triangle is pretty cool. Each number in the triangle is made from adding the two numbers above it, but the intriguing aspect is all the other patterns that you can find: regular ordinal numbers (1, 2, 3, 4...); triangle numbers (1, 3, 6, 10, 15...); multiples of 11; powers of 2 and even Fibonacci numbers.

Nancy Rawlinson was one of the people who advised Cora Lee and me when we were writing The Great Number Rumble: A Story of Math in Surprising Places (where you can read more about Pascal's Triangle). I love hearing about all the wonderful ways she teaches math to her students and shows them that there is math all around us. When she taught Grade 6, one of her skeptical students finally admitted three-quarters of the way through the year, "I give up. Math IS everywhere!"

Ms Rawlinson's students created all the elements of the triangle and posted questions around it based on the 5 Ws: Who, What, Why, When and Where. It's on the bulletin board outside their class for all the school to see.
Answering all these questions gave even the less enthusiastic math students an avenue into some of the cooler parts of math. And I have to admit that, as a kid myself, it was the weird and cool bits of math that I always remembered best.

Ms Rawlinson says her students loved the idea of growing patterns and they loved hearing the history of Pascal's Triangle. They also were intrigued by the idea that things can be named after people who didn't really discover them. While Blaise Pascal gave his name to it, the idea of the triangle first began with Chinese mathematicians, was further developed by Indian and then Arab scholars and then brought to Europe. Even though a number of European mathematicians were working on it, Pascal took the credit.

Next up on Ms Rawlinson's class calendar is Fibonacci numbers, named after the Italian mathematician who also brought the concept of zero to Europe. Were Fibonacci numbers actually discovered by Leonardo Fibonacci? Ms Rawlinson's class can tell you the answer!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eight Annick Titles Shortlisted for OLA Forest of Reading!

We're very pleased to announce that eight of our titles--encompassing fifteen authors and illustrators!--have been shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading awards.

And the nominees from Annick Press are...
For the Blue Spruce award, A Flock of Shoes by Sarah Tsiang with art by Qin Leng

For the Silver Birch Non-Fiction award:
50 Poisonous Questions by Tanya Lloyd Kyi with art by Ross Kinnaird
Africans Thought of It by Bathseba Opini and Richard B. Lee
Animals That Changed the World by Keltie Thomas
Game Day by Kevin Sylvester

For the Red Maple Fiction award, Thunder Over Kandahar by Sharon McKay with photos by Rafal Gerszak

For the White Pine Non-Fiction award, i.d. by Kate Scowen and Peter Mitchell

For the Golden Oak award, Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton with art by Liz Amini-Holmes
Congratulations to all of the authors and illustrators, and to everyone who had a hand in bringing these books to life. We're keeping our fingers crossed and looking forward to the awards ceremony in 2012!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Erebos Wins German Children's Literature Prize!

We have some happy news from Frankfurt: the young adult novel Erebos has won a prestigious German award. Here's what Annick's associate publisher Colleen MacMillan had to say about it:
EREBOS, by Ursula Poznanski, won the most prestigious German children's prize at the Frankfurt book fair on Friday night--the Jugendliteraturpreis, which is awarded based on the number of votes from young readers across Germany. Annick Press purchased North American English-language rights for the title, which originated with Loewe Verlag. Annick is proud to be the publisher of EREBOS, which will be released in early February, 2012. Watch for more exciting developments around this title.
Find out more about this thrilling tale of an intelligent computer game with a disturbing agenda on our website.

(Left to right) Celebrating Erebos's award win: Tina Moser, the former rights seller for Loewe Verlag, with Annick Press's associate publisher Colleen MacMillan.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Review Our Titles on NetGalley!

We're pleased to announce that we recently signed on with NetGalley, a company that allows publishers to upload e-galleys of new and upcoming books for reviewers, including book bloggers, librarians, and educators. Currently, Annick Pres has five titles available for review, all from our Fall 2011 list:

If you review children's books--whether it's in a local newspaper, a book blog, or just for your school or library--please check out our titles on NetGalley. We'd love to know what you think!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Interactive Book Talks

One of the challenges for publishers like Annick Press is how to make the best use of new technologies in order to connect kids and books. An exciting development in classroom technology is the use of interactive white boards, which allow educators to present new material to a group of students while actively engaging them in the learning process. We were first introduced to white boards by a very committed and enthusiastic school librarian in York Region who demonstrated how she used this tool very effectively to do book talks for groups of students. With funding from the Ontario Media Development Corporation, Annick decided to create interactive book talks for selected titles aimed at students in grades 4 to 8. These ready-made book talks allow teachers and librarians to present titles in a highly visual, interactive way while providing background information, author profiles and short excerpts from the text.

We're very excited that these book talks are now available on the Annick website, and hope that they make it easier for educators to get their students excited about books.