1. Matt how did your book come to be?
2. What age group are you targeting?I wrote the original rough draft way back in June 2013 and began sending it out on submissions a few months later, so it's been a while since I've thought about what inspired me to write it! As I recall, the phrase, "everybody counts" popped into my head for some reason and I immediately noticed a double entendre: that everybody matters and that everybody literally counts numbers. So I think the concept came about pretty quickly, once I figured out a way to have children of different ethnicities teaching the reader, which was using food.
I hope parents and educators recognize that it can appeal to a broad age group! Young children who are only 4 or 5 can understand the process of counting and can begin to see how others in the world do something they themselves do: count, eat food, and spend time with family. Meanwhile, older elementary readers, 6-9, can read the book on their own and study the numbers more closely and practice memorization, if they choose.
I hope to share it with at least a few schools in a couple weeks for World Read Aloud Day on February 1st.
Throughout the book, each page shares a rhyming introduction and informative content about the country being featured beside numbers 1-10 in the foreign language of each country highlighted. Due to Matt's research skills, we find out what is the luckiest number from one to ten in the Chinese language and what is a favorite drink in India. This book could be an incentive for older children to research on their own and create their own booklet with researched facts, a poem similar to Matt's ending poem (see below), and their favorite numbers. Matt originally created this poem as a summary emphasizing the double intent of the book, that everybody counts.
Come join your friends and make some new;
eat up and have a drink!
The world is just outside your door
and closer than you think.
You might see foods you’ve never tried,
hear words you can’t pronounce,
you might meet kids you’ve never known, but…
– © 2013, Matt Forrest Esenwine