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May
31
2011

Why is it that baby counting books always start with the number 1?  You can’t have a number system without the number zero – so the omission does not make much sense.  Zero – called sunna in Telugu (and shoonya in Hindi and Gujarati) also happens to be both of my kids’ favourite number.  “Remember when I was zero years old, Mommy?” (referring to any time period before they turned one) and “I want zero punishment.”  There is just something silly about “nothing.”

I put this issue to rest when drafting our new Bindi Baby Numbers books – our first page spread is dedicated to the number 0 – with accompanying text translating to “There is nothing here.” The kids love it!  So much so that’s it’s hard to keep them from coming back to that page.  (We also have a full page about Aryabhata – India’s great mathemtician and astronomer who is credited with the “invention” of zero.)

In my quest for more ”zero” related things, I stumbled upon Numberjacks – a children’s TV series produced for BBC featuring animated superhero numbers who solve problems.  The show is aimed at 4- and 5-year-olds and encourages problem solving, thinking and early math skills.  The numbers each have their own personality and powers (4 is a mechanic, 2 has a “touch of the ‘terrible twos'”, and 9 is a good organizer)!

And yes, there is a Monsieur Sunna – he can make things disappear!  How cool is that?

So when are you guys coming State-side?

Learn more about Numberjacks on their website or their new Mission to Learn interactive website.

UPDATE:  Numberjacks contacted us and informed us they ARE available in the US – but only in Spanish.  Check out Los Supernumeros on VME.

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4 Responses to ““sa” is for “sunna””

  1. Chris Ellis Says:

    Hi
    Delighted to say hello, and to celebrate Zero and all the other numbers. In fact Zero was the hero of the very first Numberjacks episode, and one of the very first children who saw it got up at the end and said to her mother: ‘We’ve just seen the naughty number Zero, who turns everything into nothing!’ (A later episode shows Zero turning One into Ten but that’s another story.)
    I love your aspiration to get children to say: ‘What is that? I want to know more.’ We wanted to engage children with numbers, counting, problems solving and all things mathematical – and before that help them to look, listen notice and wonder. We thought the best way was to make the numbers characters, and engage the children in comedy and adventure. And we’ve had a wonderful response. Numberjack is on many countries in the world, and in several languages (both English and Hindi in India) and in Spanish on VME in the States, but sadly not yet shown in English. In the programs and our website http://www.numberjacksmissiontolearn.co.uk
    (www.njmtl.co.uk for short) we introduce young children to all the key areas of math they will need to be confident and independent learners. We’d love anyone who’d like to take a free trial and tell us what they think! There’s more about the Numberjacks at http://www.numberjacks.co.uk where Zero has his own page.
    All the very best to you all,
    Chris Ellis and the Numberjacks team

  2. Aruna Says:

    Fabulous, Chris. And simply hilarious about Zero! If you ever decide to make your videos available on Amazon On Demand or Netflix Instant – I’m sure you’ll have many drooling fans in the states. For now – NJTML.co.uk will have to do (but it will be a teaser)!

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