Learn math in the kitchen! Check out Cooking with Mr. C, a picture book about a math teacher named Mr. C that uses cooking and baking to teach his students fractions and other mathematics concepts. When the main character Scottie, arrived on his first day of fourth grade, he didn’t know what to expect from his math teacher. His sister told him he had a “special way of teaching”. How is Mr. C going to teach the class math? Mr. C announces to the class the first day of school, “We are going to make chocolate chip cookies”. Every day was an adventure in Mr. C’s class. The students became experts in sequencing, fractions and measurements by making other creations in the kitchen. Mr. C’s style of teaching caught on and the students got the opportunity to meet other chefs and gain unique experiences. At the end of the book, Mr. C explains to his students that “you can be more than one thing when you grow up”. I think this statement is very powerful and can lead to many interesting conversations with your child. When discussing this topic with my children, I explained the different roles that I fill such as mom, speech language pathologist, author and instructor. My daughter brought up that her first grade teacher is a teacher and an artist and we discussed what they wanted to be when they grew up.
Cooking with Mr. C is an attractive book with an interesting twist that will keep children engaged from ages 6 and up. There are many carryover activities that you can engage in with your child after reading this book. Bake some cookies with your child and explain how the measurements work! Begin with something simple, like a brownie mix with limited measurements. Cooking is a sensory hands on experience which makes learning more accessible to children and adults. To learn more about cooking as a sensory experience, check out my article here.
I wanted to ask the author, John Contratti some questions about what inspired him to write this book.
1. What inspired you to write you to write Cooking with Mr. C?
After teaching for 20 years, I wanted to mix things up in my classroom. I wanted my students to be excited coming to school and myself as well. Around school, I’m known for being a good cook and baker. So I began to cook/make simple recipes in the classroom that would assist my students with fractions, measurement and sequencing. Sequencing a recipe made it just as easy for them to sequence world events in social studies. My cooking in the classroom put me on a Hallmark Channel cooking show, which led to the start of my food blog “Cooking with Mr. C” which has become more successful than I ever managed. I was inspired to write the book so I could share my experiences in my classroom. I turned those experiences into a children’s picture book with a good message for kids.
2. Can you tell about your background and how that helped shape you as an author?
I’ve always been a reader and a writer. As a kid, I would write to everyone involved in television and movies. I would get responses from them and in many cases get invited to meet them. Anyone who checks out “Cooking with Mr. C” on WordPress and views the “Celebrity Photos” section, they will see me with a variety of actors/performers throughout the years. I’ve always pursued my interests. From day one of my teaching career I’ve encouraged my students to do the same. I think it was inevitable that I would be an author of a book one day. I also thought of being a screenwriter as well.
3. Can you give some ideas for teacher about how to incorporate more cooking in their classroom? Any suggestions for the Common Core Curriculum would be helpful!
Just teaching a basic fraction lesson, teachers can use dry cereal to get their objective across to students. Let students use measuring cups and spoons. Children learn by doing. Be a good model and let them soar. When a student show me how it’s done, then I know my mission was accomplished. As for Common Core, I explain to my parents on Back to School Night that Common Core emphasizes deeper critical thinking. It requires students to discuss more, analyze more, and explain their thinking and showing proof and evidence within their work. In the end my students have been working this way since I began teaching 25 years ago.
4. Do you have any future plans for more children’s books?
I do have plans for more books. I already have a rough draft for another “Mr. C” book, which will take the class outside of the classroom. I would love for it to be a series of books, I have also been working on ideas for a fiction book for adults, which will take up plenty of my time putting it together.
The author, John Contratti self published this book with Mascot Books. Given the inspirational spin about fulfilling a variety of roles in life (like Mr. C did in the book), I wanted to follow up this review with an interview with Josh Patrick, the sales and marketing director from Mascot Books.
Can you explain the process in self publishing books.
We started self publishing ourselves over 13 years ago with a single title and we’ve put together our program thinking back to how we began- creating a solution that makes sure other authors don’t have to go through all the same things we did.
Are there any requirements for self publishing books?
The cost for our program is completely based on the production cost. (Printing and Illustrations, or just printing if you already have illustrations)
Basically, our program is full service publishing- we offer everything that you’ll need to produce, market, and sell your book. Professional editing, layout, design, ISBN and bar code assignment and any other production support you need is all included. We provide marketing and promotional support as well as distribution and sales access through all of the largest retailers and distributors in the country (BN, Amazon, Books a Million, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Follett Library Resources, and more) whenever books sell you keep 85-100% of all sales.
To learn more about self publishing, check out the authors flier.
Buy from Mascot books here.
To purchase from Amazon Cooking with Mr. C.