In Montreal, word spread about the stories, which Allan had been turning into books with illustrations from son David. An article appeared in the Montreal Star, at the time the city’s dominant English-language newspaper. Several publishers were interested in the poems, but they felt some of the words were too complex for small children. Allan didn’t want to change the words, so the poems were never published.
Years later, when Maths — No Problem! co-founder Andy Psarianos first saw Allan’s stories, he was blown away. He decided he needed to do something to make sure they reached a wider audience.
He also recognized the stories could be used as a mechanism to bring children into the magical world of mathematics.
“Too often in maths education, there’s a separation between the material and the real world,” says Andy. “But it’s critical, especially for young children, that they can immerse themselves in a storybook and look for the mathematics. It’s a different lens.”
Andy asked Dr. Yeap Ban Har, technical consultant at Maths — No Problem! and a legendary figure in maths education, to get involved. In a marriage of true minds, Ban Har became the design director for the project to convert Allan’s stories into Picture Books for Foundations, the new Early Years series.
‘Rosy Red’ and ‘This ‘n That,’ along with two more of Allan’s stories — ‘Playmates’ and ‘Magic Oven’ — were published earlier this year as Picture Books for the Foundations series, with plans for more to come.
“I’m so proud of these books,” says Andy. “So much love goes into it, so much care.”