Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Meet Suzanne Slade: Author of What's New At The Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure

In the recent weeks, I reviewed the book What's New At The Zoo?: An Animal Adding Adventure by Suzanne Slade. We have loved the book and now I am excited to be able to chat with the author herself!! My son fell in love with her math-based zoo visit from the first time we opened the book. Now, you have the chance to fall in love with the author. Seriously, this interview is that good!! :) Let's get to it . . .


What's New at the Zoo?: An Animal Adding Adventure is a book that incorporates math into a rhyming story of visiting the zoo. What was your inspiration in creating this unique story?

I've always been a math person (my degree is in engineering), so creating a math title has been on my "to write" list for some time. I wanted to make an addition title that was fun and kid-friendly but wasn't sure how to do that. Then I was writing a non-fiction book about peacocks and learned their babies are called peachicks. Bingo!! The inspiration I needed for the book--fun, rhyming verses which provide the cool names of different baby animals and addition problems where the reader can add up the parents and their babies.

Have you written any other books? (If so, please share!) Which one is your personal favorite?
I've written about 70 books for children, and I've truly enjoyed writing each one. It's impossible to pick my favorite. In some ways books are like your children, there are different things you like best about each, and you are proud of them all.

What was your favorite book and/or author as a child?

My favorite books when I was young were Mouse and the Motorcycle, The Boxcar Children, and Toothpaste Millionaire.

What is your latest writing news?

I just finished editing the sequel to What's New at the Zoo? This new title, titled What's the Difference, is a subtraction story which shares encouraging and important information about endangered animals with children. Fortunately, the publisher chose the same wonderful illustrator, Joan Waites, for this project. I can't wait to see it when it comes out in 2010. I also have another picture book coming out next year from Albert Whitman titled, Abraham's Steps. Mr. Colin Bootman, winner of many major awards, is currently working on the illustrations for that book. Then in 2011 Charlesbridge is publishing, The House That George Built, a fun picture book about the construction of the White House.

Going along with the theme of the book, What's New at the Zoo?, do you have any suggestions for those kids (or parents!) that have a fear of math?

My recommendation for parents is to welcome and enjoy math whenever it appears. For example, if you are counting up change to pay for something at a store, let your child help. When you are making cookies, show your child how to measure out ingredients. If you are deciding how many pizzas to order, ask how many pieces each person would like and add up the total. Ask how many slices are in a pizza and start dividing. Math is fun when it helps you in your everyday life!

You have done a lot of author visits at schools, libraries, and bookstores. In fact, your website includes some very adorable letters from children. Is there one visit or event that stands out to you the most? Why?

Every book event is lots of fun because I get to meet to new people and learn new things from them. I also enjoy answering questions about writing. One author visit that was really cool was a Read Across America event at Navy Pier in Chicago where I met the Cat-in-the-Hat (and Thing 1 and Thing 2). They played some fun songs, and I have to say, that Cat can dance!

This year I've added a new option for school visits with virtual author visits. For a limited time I've offering free author visits via Skype to classrooms across the country. All teachers need to do is download the free software which takes about 5 minutes. Then I can read to students and answer their questions from my home. How cool is that?


If you are interested in learning more about Suzanne Slade and her many children's books, please visit her website, The Home Page of Suzanne Slade, Children's Author.

Thank you Suzanne!!


  1. I like the idea of an actual math person writing a math-focused picture book. Sometimes I feel let down by science picture books that present false information.

    Seventy books? Wow! Great interview. :)

  2. Thanks for this wonderful interview with Suzanne! We're very excited about her new release AND next year's book! YAAAAAAAAAY!

  3. Kristen . . . I completely agree!!! And, she did such a wonderful job!!

    Sara Dobie . . . You're welcome!! I'm very excited about her sequel too!! :)


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