Monday, February 25, 2013

BlueInk Reviews Hails iUniverse Books

Source: iUniverse Author Focus

The iUniverse author community has a good reason to celebrate for fellow writers. Two iUniverse authors Loretta Jean Everhart and Margaret Dexter recently gained starred reviews from respected indie-book reviewer BlueInk Reviews.

The BlueInk acclaim for Everhart’s math instructional book Math Vitamins: Daily Dose for Students Learning How to Solve Word Problems and Dexter’s memoir Malta Remembered present a rosier literary future for these exceptional iUniverse authors.

Math Vitamins: Daily Dose for Students Learning How to Solve Word Problems

“Loretta Jean Everhart knows math instruction—and children. She believes students are more motivated to learn when math instruction is not isolated, but instead connected to other subjects and the real world. Math Vitamins, an 8.5 x 11- inch handbook for parents and teachers, is based on her 30-plus years of teaching math in elementary schools. The book contains easily read foundational information and presents a task-analyzed approach to solving word problems.

Chapters cover the importance of various tasks, including: teaching problem-solving skills; establishing math vocabulary; using writing and reading strategies with word problems; understanding and preventing math anxiety, and more.

For word problems, Everhart uses Polya’s Four-Step Problem Solving Model: (1) understand the problem, (2) develop a plan to solve the problem, (3) carry out the plan, and (4) look back. Detailed and understandable explanations are given for each step. For example, in step one, “understand the problem,” Everhart covers finding the problem question, rephrasing the question as a statement (with a blank for the answer), highlighting key words to determine what operation is needed, and determining if there is missing or unneeded information in the word problem. The appendix includes a 43-page reproducible handout on the Polya model that students can keep in their problem-solving journals for reference.

Math Vitamins is well organized and well written. Everhart clearly explains concepts and provides specific strategies for teaching problem-solving to children. She includes lists of resources (math-themed storybooks, websites, and an extensive bibliography) for parents and teachers to find more information if desired. Both parents and teachers will find this book an excellent addition to their instructional library.”

Malta Remembered

Margaret Dexter’s memoir of a year spent living in Malta is both a fond family history and globetrotting travelogue.

In 1963, husband Stillman’s business was booming and he decided the family should live in England for a year. They leased their Santa Barbara home and dove into the experience hungrily, arriving in time to see The Beatles before they were household names. Returning home, they found the business bankrupt and their own prospects grim. To rebuild a nest egg, Stillman took work that placed him in Libya. The separation from his family was too much to endure, so wife, kids and two poodles moved to Malta, which enabled frequent visits. They once again settled in and were loving life when the political climate in Libya forced the family to move yet again. Ever resilient, they packed up and made landfall (eventually) in Connecticut.

Dexter is an assured writer who is selective in choosing her anecdotes and curates them well. Her depictions of travel by train and ocean liner reveal the grit and glamour of both.

The author also captures her family’s quirky personalities neatly on the page. While living abroad, the family is used to being treated with friendly curiosity by neighbors. But when they settle in Connecticut, nobody seems curious about their time in Malta, and Dexter’s choice to bring home their right-hand drive Renault only makes things worse. “The wariness toward new people in their midst made us more than aware that we were those strangers with the weird car—and if Georg (the family’s standard poodle) sat beside me he appeared to be driving.”

By the time Stillman passes away from Parkinson’s disease, we know the family so well it feels like losing a friend.

Malta Remembered is a portrait of a place that is no more (the island nation has since joined the European Union), and a striking portrayal of a loving, close-knit family.

Highly recommended for fans of M.F.K. Fisher.

iUniverse Author Focus thanks and congratulates iUniverse authors Loretta Jean Everhart and Margaret Dexter for this honor and achievement!

Get to know other exceptional iUniverse authors at the iUniverse Blog and the iUniverse Author Focus, and get self-publishing success strategies at the iUniverse Writer’s Tips.


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