North Haledon resident writes children's book that teaches science
By: Tonya Holman
A local teacher is trying to teach science through a new children's book.
North Haledon resident Paulette Szalay shared her new book, "Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville" with more than 100 third- and fourth-grade children at School 4 in Paterson's Meet the Author event to celebrate Earth Day on April 22.
The children were surprised to see that the author was their very own eighth-grade science teacher. Szalay has been in the Paterson School District for nine years.
"As a science educator, I realized that reading is more important than any subject. Students cannot learn science, or any subject, without being able to read. That is when I began thinking about Baggy Maggy," Szalay said.
"Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville," published by Martin James Publishing, is a children's picture book series that teaches youngsters science concepts through adventurous stories.
Baggy Maggy known as "America's Favorite Bag Lady" is a hip, urban bag lady who has a wealth of science knowledge. Only she knows how to solve science dilemmas. Baggy Maggy has friends who help her solve these science mysteries. Her friends also travel with her on her adventures. Baggy Maggy has a magical bag that allows her and her friends to travel anywhere they need to go.
""When I began writing this book, I wanted to create characters that were fun and exciting for children," she explained. "With an idea in mind and a pen and paper, I began the creation of 'Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville.' I knew that I wanted characters that were different, fun and memorable since the basis for the book is teaching children science through adventurous stories. The twist is that students can interact with characters through the Baggy Maggy website and take a fun comprehension quiz via the website. I believe the more students can interact and discover, the more they will retain."
Baggy Maggy illustrator and former student of the Paterson School district, Efron Lopez, also attended the event.
The children were also surprised when Baggy Maggy herself (Randi Lupo) came out on stage to greet the children and read the book along with them.
"I opened the program by giving a mini science lesson on the importance of saving our Earth from pollution, and how Earth Day reminds us of this importance. Students participated in answering questions about saving our Earth and discussed the three Rs - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle," added Szalay.
Each child was given an autographed copy of the book along with an Earth Day poster and supplies.
To find out more about Baggy Maggy and her friends, go to www.BaggyMaggy.com
Baggy Maggy and Friends is a children's book from North Haledon resident, Paulette Szalay
Saving Stinkville: Paterson teacher writes children's book about pollution
Randi Lupo, Efrain Lopez and author, Paulette Szalay
BY MARYANNE CHRISTIANO-MISTRETTA
PATERSON As a science educator for the past nine years, Paulette Szalay sometimes experienced the difficulties of getting students engaged in the material they read from text books.
"Reading from a text book doesn't excite students,'' she said. "I wanted to get them excited and this is one way to do it."
Szalay's way was to write a children's story called "Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville," a science-based picture book which tells the tale of community members stopping the pollution of their city.
"Reading is an important component in science," said Szalay, who teaches at Frank Napier Academy. "I really wanted to do something for children … not just Paterson children, but all children. I wanted to come up with something fun.''
Szalay's work was celebrated on Monday during a book-signing event at Napier, part of Paterson Public Schools' celebration of Earth Day.
The Stinkville saga won rave revues from Napier students.
"It was funny and it gave ideas to help the environment,'' said 10-year-old Melanie Delance. "It's my first time seeing a teacher write a book. She's like a celebrity."
"Perfect,'' said Kissmeilry Balera, 10. ""It's funny. The author is cute too."
Dia'zhon White, 10, was very proud of his teacher. "We never had an author from the school," he said.
Jacob Logue, 9, agreed, saying, "The feeling of having someone [who teaches at the school] who wrote the book is exciting."
At Monday's event, Szalay was accompanied by her illustrator, Efrain Lopez, a former Paterson student who is now attending school to become an art teacher and illustrator as well as comedienne Randi Lupo, who dressed as the main character, Baggy Maggy, complete with a blue wig, glasses and candy cane striped stockings.
Szalay, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and two masters degrees believes her book helps kids "learn science in a fun way." She also pointed out that after reading the book, the children can take a fun quiz online to test their comprehension as well as interact with the characters.
Inspiration for Szalay came from knowing that science is all around us, she said. "When you walk outside your door, science is on the street she said.
Writing the story and putting the illustrations together with Lopez didn't take long at all. "It took eight months," Szalay said. "Within a year."
And since she's a science teacher and the book stemmed from educating her students, writing the book fit right in with her regular schedule.
Szalay sees "Baggy Maggy" as the first in a series of books, all of which will teach children a variety of science topics through stories. Ten percent of the proceeds from the book are donated to purchase school supplies for students in need.
For more information visit: http://www.baggymaggy.com/
From Left: illustrator, Efron Lopez, "Baggy Maggy" and author Paulette Szalay who is also a Science teacher at School 4
PATERSON, NJ - More than 100 students from School 4 attended an Earth Day celebration at the school and were greeted by three surprise guests, including the author of the new children's book Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville.
The author is a teacher at the school, Paulette Szalay, who teaches a 8th grade science. Her book, Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville, is published by Martin James Publishing.
Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville is a children's picture book series that teaches children science concepts through adventurous stories. Baggy Maggy, known as America's Favorite Bag Lady lives in Baggy Maggyville and has a wealth of science knowledge. Baggy Maggy has friends who help her solve science mysteries.
The second surprise guest was the book's illustrator, Efron Lopez, a former student of the Paterson School district who is currently serving in the United States Air Force.
The third surprise guest was none other than Baggy Maggy herself (Randi Lupo), who came out on stage, greeted the children read the book with them. After the reading, the students were given an autographed copy of the book along with other items pertaining to Earth Day.
"Reading is very important, as is science, and what a better way to combine the two by creating a fun way for children not only to learn, but to take part in the adventure at the exact same time," Szalay said. "I wanted the book to be completely different then other children's books, and I made sure it was filled with lots of colors so the children would be more attracted to it.
"The end result is, they get to read, they get to learn, they get to take part and they get to have fun, and who could ask for more than that?"
Visit www.BaggyMaggy.com for more information about Baggy Maggy.
Stinkville is saved! -Earth day was extra exciting for third and fourth graders at the Reverend Frank Napier, Jr. School who got a visit from a very special character from the children's book, Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville. What made the visit extra special is that the book was authored by School 4 teacher, Ms. Paulette Szalay, who was also on hand to read along with students and distribute Earth Day gifts to them. The Baggy Maggy website was also accessed, allowing the readers to interact with various other Baggy Maggy characters.
"Baggy Maggy" gets a music video! - School 4 teacher Paulette Szalay, author of Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville, go together with two other teachers to take her children's book to another level. Mr. Harold Edgar wrote a song about Baggy Maggy and Mr. Richard Solis produced an accompanying video. The aim of Baggy Maggy is to inspire and motivate students to enjoy reading more. To watch the Baggy Maggy video! go to:
Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville, is a science based children's picture book is an adventurous story about Baggy Maggy and her friends who help the people of Stinkville save their city from pollution. The book teaches children how to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville is the first book of a series of science based picture books.
After reading the book, children can take a fun quiz to test their comprehension. Children are able to interact with characters as well.
The illustrator of the book is a former Paterson student who is now going to school to become an Art Teacher and illustrator. Ten percent of the proceeds from the book are donated to purchase school supplies for students who are in need.
On April 22, 2013, third and fourth grade students will be meeting the author, Paulette Szalay, the eighth grade science teacher at School 4. A live character of Baggy Maggy will be at School 4 to help celebrate. All students attending the program will receive an autographed book and a bag of school supplies.
To find out more you can visit the Baggy Maggy website at:
Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville is the first of a series of children's picture books that
Ms. Paulette Szalay created for children to learn science vocabulary and concepts while reading adventurous stories. Baggy Maggy is an urban bag lady who has a wealth of science knowledge. Baggy Maggy and her friends travel through her bag to solve science dilemmas.
In Baggy Maggy and Friends Save Stinkville, Baggy Maggy and her friends help to teach the people of Stinkville how to recycle, reuse and reduce while cleaning up the pollution of the city. This book is filled with adventure and magic. Children are able to interact with characters on
For more information visit, BaggyMaggy.com (Martin James Publishing)
The book is in the process of being published. Ten percent of the proceeds from the book are donated to purchase school supplies for students who are in need.