Meet Author Andrew Martonyi
The US map has always fascinated me! Lines going every which way leading to places I’ve never been to intrigued me. So I was always trying to memorize the location of the states. When I had the map open, it seemed pretty easy. But once I closed the map none of the shapes, lines or names stayed with me. I simply could not remember by rote memorization.
Writing this book, the idea was to create those visual elements that turned the shape of the state into an easily remembered object, then have that object interact in a logical way with the objects in the states around it. These would become the mnemonics or memory aids for each of the 50 US states.
So Iowa becomes a face because the shape of Iowa is a face; New York State becomes a flashlight because it’s shape is a flashlight; Virgina becomes a ham because it easily looks like a ham.
But it is so much easier to show you: Watch this two minute video that will show you what I mean.
I have taken my books to schools and introduced children to MIM—The Little Man In the Map. The first question usually is, “Did you create the Little Man?” And I say to them, “No, the Mississippi River did that, along with the five states that border the river.” It really fascinates them that a “little man” is actually standing in the U.S. map, and that they have never heard of him before. And when I tell them that he also has a chair and table with food and water on the table, and every other state plays a role as well, they become captivated.
I have been honored by the recognition received by THE LITTLE MAN IN THE MAP: a Silver Award from the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, a Silver Award from Forward Magazine’s Book Of the Year, the Most Original Concept Award from the IPPY Book Awards, Finalist status from the Indie Book of the Year Awards, and an Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal.
“Each year, the Montaigne Medal is given to the most thought-
provoking titles – books that either illuminate, progress or redirect
My hope is that it will do that for all children.