Math Book Magic Dreams

In the past 3 years, I’ve shared many math books with my children. We’ve found magic in 48 of these books. I’ve learned much from these amazing authors and illustrators and watching my children interact with their books. In addition to writing this blog, I’ve been writing picture book manuscripts and dreaming of publishing magical math books of my own.

Anyone that has written for children knows, it actually is harder than it seems. Author Anna Dewdney had this to say.

“…The irony is it would be easier to be a hand surgeon than to be a published children’s book author. It is less competitive. People have memories of children’s books. They do look deceptively simple. Of course, everybody has stories that resonate with them. It is so tempting to think all you have to do is write down the short story and there you are. They are very complicated books. You are working with a very tight format and they become like haiku. Until people have tried and tried to get published, they just don’t understand. One of my editor friends says for every 15,000 manuscripts on an editor’s desk, one will get published.” —Anna Dewdney, author of the  Llama Llama series and Grumpy Gloria. Source 

Despite these odds, I continue to dream, write, submit, revise, read, and repeat. And in this post, I share my writing for the first time on this blog.

Last month I wrote a short piece for the #FallWritingFrenzy contest hosted by picture book author, agent, and math teacher Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez and children’s book author and artist, Lydia Lukidis. The Rules: Choose an inspiration photo from a set of fall-themed photos, write a piece inspired by the photo (200 words or less), and post your submission to your blog. Below is my inspiration image and my piece, Shape Makers. Instead of adding illustration notes, I’ve included an image slideshow to illustrate some of the wonder that inspired this piece.

One of the images provided for the #FallWritingFrenzy contest on twitter (Source:Image 5, courtesy of Unsplash )

Shape Makers

By Kelly Darke

The world’s full of shape makers. 

Some make leaf shapes.
Thumb-like lobe shapes. Pointed, edge shapes. Dreamy, drip shapes.    

Some make web shapes.
Triangle net shapes. Silken circle shapes. Funnel mesh shapes.  

Some make nest shapes. Some dome shapes. Some underground home shapes.

Some make sticky shapes or sipping shapes or show-off shapes.

Some make rainbow shapes. Some shadow shapes. Some snowflake shapes.

And at night, as the moon rises and all is quiet and still, some shape makers make shimmering shapes in the stars. 

What shapes will you make?

[Photos in the slideshow are courtesy of Pixabay with the exception of the rainbow (MARTIJN HARLEMAN/SPACEGALLERY) and the worm tunnels which are a screenshot from the video below).] Also, here are a few links regarding these shape wonders:

A butterfly’s proboscis (mouthpart) is spiral?!

Rainbows are circular?!

Worms at work

Thanks for taking the time to read my writing. And good luck to any #FallWritingFrenzy participants here! I look forward to reading your submissions.

Interested in reading more about magical math picture books? Follow this blog by clicking the button in sidebar or follow me on twitter @KellyDarkeMath for more magical math book recommendations. Next post features a rhyming picture book that sits in intersection of math, magic, and doughnuts. Coming soon!

If you’d like to receive these magical math book posts every month, be sure to follow this blog in the side bar of this page. Thanks and see you soon!  Touch #mathbookmagic, pass it on.  


  1. I love the way you open our eyes that there are shape makers all around us and we are one too. I wonder where little minds will take it.


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