• Allison Gray

Detroit Teacher and Mom of Two Writes a Children's Book About Math Anxiety

“I am just not good at math…” or “I’m just not a math person” are common phrases heard by Allison Gray, Novi Community School District teacher. Not only would Allison hear comments like these from students, but also parents. 

Hearing this from students set off an alarm bell for Allison and was instantly brought back to her own childhood memories in school. 

“I always used to say that I just wasn’t good at math, I would pretend to ‘get it’ when really I needed more help in school, and eventually I believed that I just had “bad math genes”-- that I was born with a poor number sense.” 

These similarities sparked Allison to write an early reader children’s book (54 pages, 4 chapters), and start a publishing company, Failing Forward Books, LLC. to change that narrative, fittingly titled, “I’m Just Bad At Math!”

This story is told from the perspective of a young girl who thinks her brain is broken when it comes to learning math. She starts a new school year trying to ‘pretend’ to be a good student but is ‘exposed’ during a dreaded timed test. 

“I have not found another book that brings the phrase, “I’m just bad at math” to light. I hear this on a daily basis from people of all ages, and it is said as if it’s a badge of honor or a legitimate concept.” Allison says. She wants this damaging phrase to be banned and her book brings this concept to light in a relatable way.

Traditional Style Illustrations

The gorgeous illustrations are sketched and painted in a traditional style, by the award-winning, Andra Pana. Andra lives in Romania and has multiple published children's works.

Kickstarter Information

In order to fund the publishing of her book, Allison's newly formed publishing company, Failing Forward Books, has started a Kickstarter page with a $4,000 goal. On Tuesday, February 4th, readers can begin pre-ordering a signed, hardcover copy of the book along with many other exciting rewards if donors so choose (i.e. "Get your face in the book!"). Allison has until Tuesday, March 3rd for her goal to be reached or the donors’ credit cards won’t be charged and the books will not go to print.

For a $6 pledge, the donor will receive an e-book copy. A pledge of $19 ($2 for shipping) will get the donor a first-edition signed hardcover copy of “I’m Just Bad At Math!” and an Activity Book that complements the story. Check out other limited edition rewards available only on the Kickstarter HERE.

Teachers, parents, and grandparents can use this book to build relationships with the children in their lives. The story will bring up important conversations aimed to establish trust between adults and children. 

“When children don’t fear the repercussions that may come along with failing at something, they will be more likely to take a risk and try something new. That is when real learning happens” Allison says. Help empower the little ones in your life (and the next generation) to embrace failures, not fear them.

Find out more about Allison Gray and Failing Forward Books Publishing Company here:






Kickstarter Campaign Link

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