School teacher dabbles in being an author - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

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Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2013 8:01 pm

For years, Julie Fischer has devoted her life to trying to better young children in the realms of education and social behaviors.

She’s devoted more than 20 years of her life to educating students at an elementary level, and two years ago she and her colleague, Michelle Willis, decided to open their own preschool center: Magical Journey Learning Center, 1442 E. Chandler Blvd.

Yet, Fischer shows no signs in slowing down when it comes to education, and is gearing up for the release of her new children’s book, “Ten, Nineteen and In-Between.”

The idea for writing a children’s book steamed from her days of teaching math at Kyrene de los Cerritos, where many of her students had difficulty with the numbers 10 through 19.

While teaching, Fischer began to realize that students would remember characters in stories and began playing with the notion of changing numbers into characters so her students would find it easier to remember.

“One Saturday morning I took toys from my kid’s toy room and took foam letters and Popsicle sticks to make these simple puppets,” Fischer said.

She gave each of her new characters their own simple personalities, so her students could begin to grow a connection with them, while learning the numbers, too.

The new idea showed immediate success, with the students instantly learning the character’s names such as twirly 12 and thirsty 13, and over time they began to learn the names using just the number, Fisher said.

She has been using the number puppets in her curriculum over the past 15 years. Two years ago she teamed up with her co-author, Amy Piazzola, to create their book.

The story takes place in a world called “Numberland” and focuses on a particular family called the teen numbers.

On each page of the book there is a four-sentence jingle that explains the characteristics of each number, helping the reader learn the number.

Fischer said the details in each of the pictures not only helps support the character, but also goes to helping the child in remembering the name of character.

Writing the book was the shortest process, but making sure the illustrations of each character were perfect was the most difficult task.

“There are a lot of various math concepts used in early childhood that are reinforced through the illustration. We created a teacher resource guide, which shows teachers pretty much Pre-K through second grade various ways to use the book in the classroom,” Fischer said. “It’s been really exciting seeing something that I created with Popsicle sticks, toys and foam numbers turn into characters. I’m really excited to share it.”

The official release date for “Ten, Nineteen and In-Between” is Jan. 28, but Fischer is currently doing pre-sales.

For more information, email Fischer at

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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