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"We Didn't Learn Math This Way" is HERE!!!!

Updated: Jan 29

Oh wow you guys, the moment has finally arrived!

My illustration debut, "We Didn't Learn Math This Way: a K-5 Guide for the Confused Adult" is finally published and available to purchase on!

Illustrator Emma Tipping holding the book, "We Didn't Learn Math This Way", for sale now at
Holding my illustration debut, "We Didn't Learn Math This Way: a K-5 Guide for the Confused Adult". Yay!

This book took over 3 YEARS to make! I've been bopping around telling everyone it took 2 years but then when I did a bit of quick mental math I realized that I was underestimating! I hope, by the way, that you are all impressed by how much math vocabulary I stuffed into that sentence.

This book is intended to be the ultimate go-to-guide for parents of elementary school students, struggling to understand how elementary school math is being taught today. It truly is an amazing resource.

A rocket scientist thinks a third grader's elementary school math homework is so confusing
One of the many illustrations I created for "We Didn't Learn Math This Way"

Our incredible writers, Peggy Golden and Tricia Salerno, put a lot of thought into which topics to include. They created 10 chapters, each of which explains an important topic taught in math classrooms today. These topics include:

  • Number Bonds

  • Manipulatives

  • Basic Facts

  • Mental Math Strategies

  • Unit Form

  • Algorithms

  • Story Problems

  • Two Interpretations of Division

  • Fractions...

  • and a super informative, illustrated glossary that you can turn to whenever you stumble over a confusing concept, word or phrase in your kids' homework.

Funny math cartoon illustrated by Emma Tipping, poking gentle fun at how math is taught differently today.
This book is jam packed with nuggets of math wisdom and fun, colorful cartoons.

Additionally, the book has been very thoughtfully designed to be a REFERENCE GUIDE for busy parents. I was also the art director on this project and, working with our incredible designer Alison Manning Tassio, we made a bunch of design choices to this end. For example, Alison and I settled on color coded chapters. Below is a snapshot of our table of contents, so you can see how this looks in practice:

Table of concepts for parent's guide includes important elementary school math concepts including number bonds, manipulatives, basic facts, mental math strategies, unit form, algorithms, story problems, two interpretations of division, fractions and a helpful glossary filled with important math terms.
Every chapter is an important elementary school math concept, color coded for easy reference.

This color coding system will help parents quickly locate the topic they are looking for, especially on those frazzled nights when dinner is boiling over on the stovetop, everyone is exhausted from a long day at the grind stone, and the math homework still isn't done. Every parent has been there, including myself and the writers of this book!

This book is intended to be the ultimate go-to-guide for parents of elementary school students, struggling to understand how elementary school math is being taught today.

Speaking of color, this book is BURSTING with it. Not only do we have color coded math concepts and chapter topics, we also have oodles of hilarious, entertaining cartoons to keep you flipping through the 212 pages. You've already seen a few of them sprinkled throughout this posts but here's another!

In this funny math cartoon, 3 fourth graders are telling a funny math joke about long division.
Creating so many funny math cartoons was one of my favorite parts of working on this project.

Of course, I need to take a second to acknowledge the writers of this book, Peggy Golden and Tricia Salerno. These two women are experts in their field. They have worked on multiple math curriculums between them, including Singapore Math curriculum (created and sold by our wonderful publisher) and Eureka Math curriculum (the curriculum my kids use in their elementary school). They have also been training teachers how to teach math for years.

Cartoons of math curriculum experts and writers of "We Didn't Learn Math This Way", Peggy Golden and Tricia Salerno, created by illustrator Emma Tipping
You will find these adorable cartoons of our writers sprinkled throughout WDLMTW.

I was blown away by the depth and nuance of Peggy and Tricia's knowledge. While working on this book I also served as a reader from time to time. Since I'm a parent myself with no math background, I was a great test subject to figure out what topics needed to be covered and how. In the book's early drafts, whenever I would stumble across a concept or phrase I didn't understand, Peggy and Tricia would patiently explain the topic to me until I got it. This process obviously helped them simplify their writing and figure out where to focus a bit more or less, but it also helped me understand how truly exceptional Peggy and Tricia are as math educators. Working on this project with them was like receiving a crash course in elementary school math. I will be forever grateful to Peggy Golden and Tricia Salerno- two expert math educators- for bringing me in on this project and making it such an educational experience.

Illustration of a sleeping dog, named Digit, created by Emma Tipping. Lots of images of Digit pop up throughout the book, "We Didn't Learn Math This Way", a math reference guide published by Singapore Math
Digit the dog makes lot of appearances in this book.

Finally, the last amazing thing about this comprehensive resource for parents, is the publisher. Singapore Math was an absolute dream to work with. Their textbooks and math resources are beautiful, their staff is insanely competent and best of all, they are a family-owned company, launched by a family who LOVES MATH!

Remember how I just mentioned that I had a hand in making some early edits on "We Didn't Learn Math This Way", making sure that all of the concepts would be understandable for parents without much math background? Well, after our expert writers spent many months pouring all of their knowledge and experience into the WDLMTW manuscript, the Singapore Math team pored over it AGAIN with a fine tooth comb. I can pretty much promise you that after going through SM's gauntlet of crackerjack math experts and math education mavens, this book will serve parents who are math newbies and math whizzes alike. I'd be willing to bet that even math teachers and math specialists will find all sorts of nuggets of knowledge in these 10 chapters of math goodness.

Logo for Singapore Math, the math curriculum company responsible for math curriculums at every grade and "We Didn't Learn Math This Way"
Singapore Math, our fabulous publisher.

I am so proud to have been a part of creating "We Didn't Learn Math This Way". I am excited for parents of elementary-aged students everywhere to get their hands on this book and start feeling more informed and more empowered about their children's math education.

Click the image below or go to Singapore Math's website to purchase a copy of this essential math resource!

Click on this graphic to link to Singapore Math's website and the product page of "We Didn't Learn Math This Way", written by Tricia Salerno and Peggy Golden and illustrated by Emma Tipping

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