I'm asking you to forget the old adage to "never judge a book by its cover." In fact, I want to give you reasons to do exactly that. Before sending it to print, I wanted to make sure that the cover represented who I am, where I came from, and what messages I really want to send. Take a peek:
1. The Foreword
When I reached out to Christopher Danielson, author of Which One Doesn't Belong, the chances were pretty slim in my head. I'm not as confident as I may lead on, and the chance of him being willing to jump into the project seemed like a long shot. When he immediately said yes, I was floored. Christopher Danielson just agreed to write the foreword for my book! People don't do that out of sympathy or take it lightly, and I am beyond honored to have his contribution be the first thing that people will read.
2. The Design of the Title
The design of the title was intentional and important. For one, Table Talk and Math are separated. If you aren't talking with your child, start. Please. This is the most important thing that you could ever do for him or her. Learning from your child, playing with your child, and being there for your child is the most precious gift you can ever provide, and no book or website will ever change that. This isn't only true for their younger years; in fact, as they get older, your children will need you even more. Be there.
Another key piece of the title was the design with Scrabble tiles. As I mention in the book, we didn't grow up with much, so games were the easiest way for us to find entertainment. We played Scrabble as a family to learn vocabulary, to count points... Nah, we played to be a family, and we loved it.
3. The Lego Pieces
Patterns and conversations don't have to be hard, and Lego bricks provide an equalizer. In the book, Fawn Nguyen shares about patterns and I just love how natural it can all be. Plus, the colors of the bricks on the cover are green and gold, representing the Green Bay Packers. Yep, Go Pack Go.
4. The Dice
The numbers and colors are also important. The blue and white represent my favorite baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yes, Giants fans, I know it's been a long time since they brought home a World Series, yet I still love a franchise that does so much to promote diversity, deliver on equity, and provide opportunities for a guy who would one day become a Hall of Famer.
Number 31, Mike Piazza, was selected in the 62nd round of the 1988 Major League Baseball draft as a favor to his father from Tommy Lasorda. When he made his debut in 1993, I was ten years old and looking for an athletic hero to believe in. To think that he worked as hard as he did, made as much of an impact as he did, and left such a legacy on his profession after being selected as a favor... I had to tip my hat to Mike Piazza and this was the best way I could draw it up. Because of him, I grew up knowing--and witnessing--that it was possible to chase a dream.
5. The Square Root of 9
My Twitter handle has a 9. My email has a 9. I'm borderline OCD about the number 9.
In 2008, my best friend, Preston, passed away. It was devastating for me and for our entire framily (y'know, friends as family) group, and I've been finding subtle ways to pay homage to a great man throughout my own life path ever since. Preston's number was 3, and everyone knew that.
So, in this case, the square root of 9 is 3, and the root of who I am has been made better by Preston, number 3. Cheers, buddy.
6. The Wooden Background
The background of Table Talk Math is actually an image my dad took of a serving tray that I made. There's no stain, no photoshop saturation, nothing. Just a pure image of a pure product. Truth be told, I hope that's what Table Talk Math reads like as well. I didn't want any fluff, no distractions, and no false hope. There's nothing quite like looking at a freshly-crafted project and enjoying the result.
7. The Subtitle
I also wanted the reader to feel like they could try something out with their child on a daily basis. We don't need to have a "math day" in order to bring math into the conversation. Also, we don't need to force it. We can find something in the everyday hustle and bustle to talk about, so long as we keep talking with--not at--our children.
Thank you to Christopher Danielson, Andrew Stadel, Fawn Nguyen, Mary Bourassa, Nat Banting, and Annie Fetter for offering up your thoughts and expertise that is in the book. You are all truly inspirational and I couldn't be more grateful for you saying YES.
Thank you to Dave and Shelley Burgess for another opportunity to share my voice, however loud it may become.