Behind the Story


seven piece tangram puzzle

Mrs. Pilegard’s lifelong desire to write and her sense of wonder led her to create stories for children.  While teaching third and fourth graders she became interested in the ways that informal geometry (touching and thinking about rectangles, triangles and all manner of irregular polygons) strengthens students’ visual-learning skills.  She soon fell in love with a medieval Chinese puzzle called “seven clever boards” or the tangram.  When she added her own brand of storytelling to provide listening clues for her students, The Warlord’s Puzzle was born.  In each of the books in the Warlord’s series Mrs. Pilegard offers a different mathematics concept for children to process with eyes, ears and fingers.  Each has a story just begging to be read aloud, colorful, winsome pictures, and a craft.

Says Mrs. Pilegard of her life as a children’s author:

Virginia Pilegard with shangahi horse statue

Born in the year of the horse, Mrs. Pilegard enjoys a statue in the gardens of the Moller Mansion, Shanghai, China

“I once heard that a writer’s childhood is her bank account.  Mine was filled with unspeakable riches—a  mountain cattle ranch, an old, two-room miner’s cabin with neither electricity nor indoor plumbing, and parents and a brother blessed with optimism and an enthusiasm for life.  Each time my unlikely young hero solves a problem in his life and wins the respect of those around him, it’s not difficult to see where that theme might have originated.”

For each of the Warlord’s books, Mrs. Pilegard spends hours in university and

public libraries, scours bookstores and the Internet, quizzes Chinese-American friends, and corresponds with authorities on various aspects of Chinese life from Seattle to Beijing in order to bring authenticity to the Warlord’s series.  In August 2002, November 2007 and October-November 2012, she traveled to China to continue her research.

The team of Virginia Walton Pilegard and illustrator Nicolas Debon has earned praise for the highly successful Warlord’s series.

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