# Math Can Take You Places – #Fractonia Included

FRACTONIA is a short novel for young readers that was intentionally created as an informal learning experience. This story takes a topic from mathematics (fractions, in this case) out of the classroom and into an imaginary world of exploration and discovery. The reader is encouraged to leave behind his or her mental image of what a fraction is, in order to consider a completely different image of what a fraction could be. Changing the way a student imagines a concept or topic can open the door to a “clean slate” relearning experience. When preconceived ideas are no longer posing as formidable obstacles to learning, the educator is given a second chance to lay a solid foundation in the fundamentals.

I wrote FRACTONIA in response to how some young students I know were experiencing fractions. In battling the fraction monster, some students had sadly come to believe that they were simply incapable of understanding fractions or how to work with them. Once a student is convinced they cannot have victory over the monster, there is little teachers and parents can do to change the student’s mind. Young learners with this view grow into older students that fear and hate mathematics. I set out to write a story that would help the readers repaint their mental image of the fraction monster. Fractions should not make anyone feel stupid. Most people have the capacity to understand and work with basic fractions.  I wanted to share a story that would get the reader to be able to look past the intimidating numbers and mathematical operators, and allow them to see that mathematics is a language communicating ideas and describing images of the world we live in.

A short except from FRACTONIA (Chapter 4):

“Where is Miss Brady and the rest of my class?” Matthew decided it was time to outsmart Miss Brady’s hypnotist. Matthew was determined to show the crafty man that he was not entirely under his spell. Yes, he couldn’t explain why the man looked more like a giant mosquito than a man, but that didn’t mean he had to pretend that he had lost the ability to think.

“Miss Brady?” A small, silver plate about the size of a credit card suddenly appeared in the hand (or would it be the paw or the claw?) of Merc. The plate vibrated, buzzed a little, and then vanished. Merc looked up and confidently announced, “No “Brady” in the Royal Service Extraordinaire, and no “Miss” amongst the Numo Regulars, either.”

Matthew’s look of bewilderment elicited another hearty laugh from Merc. “This must be your first time in Fractonia. You don’t know what I am talking about, do you?” Merc asked.

Matthew sighed deeply, suddenly feeling overwhelmed and unsure of himself. He shook his head vigorously as he sensed the threat of tears. “No. No, I don’t have any idea what is happening to me. Are you a hypnotist? Am I dreaming or hallucinating?” Matthew felt torn between his mind’s interpretation of his experience and what his physical senses were telling him was real. What was Merc? Could someone make him imagine something as sophisticated and extraordinary as Merc?

“No, Math, you are not dreaming. You did not imagine me. I am not a hypnotist, although I did once give a speech that put a bunch of entities to sleep. You are not hallucinating. You have simply been translated.” Merc stopped for a moment to let his words sink in.

“Right now, you are in Fractonia. Judging by your appearance, I can guess that you are a human male from the Earth world. Juvenile. Perhaps somewhere between ten and fifteen Earth years in age. Am I right? I am quite the expert, you know. I can identify over fourteen trillion species from over eight million realms. By the way, I am the Communications Officer with the Inter-Realm Royal Service Extraordinaire. I have been working at the Fractonia Outpost for the past seven million three hundred and forty-nine thousand two hundred and fifteen yonkinots.” Merc smiled reassuringly. “Do you still feel as if you are dreaming?”

FRACTONIA is available in print and digital format. (Use the links on “print” or “digital” to buy the book directly from Lulu, or google the title to find it at your favorite online booksellers.) To create a special Fractonia gift set for a young reader, I recommend combining FRACTONIA with the accompanying paperback coloring book: COLOR the REALM of FRACTONIA. The coloring book includes many of the illustrations that you will see in the novel, plus some extra characters that are mentioned, but not illustrated, in FRACTONIA. Additional FRACTONIA goodies, such as t-shirts, hoodies, water bottles, stickers, stationery, and pillows (which are ideal as gifts or classroom prizes) are available from Café Press.

### 2 thoughts on “Math Can Take You Places – #Fractonia Included”

1. Sounds like a cool book for my 10-year old. Will look for it on Amazon.

• Thanks, Doug. It should be comfortable reading for most 10-year olds. Let me know if you have trouble locating the book on Amazon.