I write stories and poetry to capture the interest of young children and teach them basic concepts of mathematics.
My first children’s publication, Sidney the Silly Who Only Eats 6, a story of number comparison, won the Connecticut Press Club Communication Award for best children’s book of 2007. It has an accompanying workbook, Math and Poetry Fun with Sidney the Silly and Friends, built around number loving characters such as Sidney’s tutor, Ella Even, who is symmetric; Oscar the odd number loving odd job man; and Prickly Porcuprime.
Since then I have several award winning children’s books in publication in addition to a collection of lesson plans for elementary teachers, Literature in the Mathematics Classroom, written in conjunction with Drs. Adam Goldberg and Maria Diamantis, a math dictionary for K-8 and have published poems in several anthologies including the International Rotary Club literacy initiative, A World of Stories, and Caduceus from the Yale Press. Highlights for Children has also published several of my poems, such as the math related Number Soup and Ms. Molly Mop with the 7s on Top.
As an active member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, I present workshop sessions at local, state and national conferences and have reviewed books and articles for NCTM publications. I visit classrooms to read my work and introduce children to two different though related worlds: mathematics and poetry.
Dr. Edward Zigler, of the Zigler Institute for Child Development at Yale and the ‘father’ of the Head Start program, said of my first book, “Penn’s creative use of rhyme and numbers is a model of how to help the young child begin the demanding tasks of mastering literacy and numeracy.” Maria Diamantis, past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, New England, wrote, “The integration of poetry and mathematics is awesome, captivating, and invites children to explore problem solving and number sense!”
Before writing books for children, I designed software systems for AT&T, the FDA and World Health Organization and the University of Florida. As a technical writer I published over 50 magazine articles in the field of architectural stone.