About the Book

Morgan and the Forty Thieves is an engaging adventure story loosely based upon Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves from the Arabian collection of tales The Thousand and One Nights.  The often overlooked heroine of the Ali Baba story is a young woman slave named Morgiana, also known as Marjana or Marjeneh.  In the Ali Baba tale Morgiana cleverly saves Ali Baba’s life multiple times.  As a reward Ali Baba marries her and ends her life as a servant.  (Or in different versions he marries her to his son or his nephew.)

The Morgan of this story is only nine years old and she is also very clever.  She has grown up in a world that bridges the customs and practices of east and west, with a mother from Persia and a father from the United States.  The setting of the story is Massachusetts at the turn of the last century, a period in which explorers were still seeking out unknown parts of the world.  Indeed Morgan’s story begins when her father is lost on an expedition to the Galapagos, and she and her mother are forced to sell their home and move in with a mysterious family they’ve never met.  Morgan soon discovers that the family is hiding a great secret, and that a world of magic and enchantments might actually be real.


About the Author

Addie clearly loves math, and she’s been thinking for a long time about a different way to teach math to young children.   Morgan and the Forty Thieves puts math in a story context and demonstrates that math is simply another way of thinking about the world around us.   So many things that we find beautiful in the natural world come down to the symmetries and patterns found in living things.

Addie hopes that this book will help you to understand math in a whole new way— that math is not just about memorizing how numbers work together, (although those skills can be helpful), it’s about seeing that all living things have math in their creation and growth.  And these patterns in the natural world are not just with living things.  If you throw a rock in a pond you’ll see that the circles that ripple out have a pattern to them.  That pattern has a language.  It can be represented by numbers in an equation.  Being able to read that language, being able to understand the relationships between the numbers and symbols, helps us to understand more fully the world in which we live.

Addie also hopes that this book will help you to understand that life is full of these patterns, and that they surround us all the time.  In the Teacher/Parent guide there are exercises that involve going out to observe the natural world around us so that we can think about why nature grows the way that it does.  And then we can look at the planets and stars and wonder how they came to be and where we are in relation to the vast universe, and we can look into a microscope and wonder how the world of the very small came to be and how the world at this small (quantum) level behaves differently from the large world around us.  The mysteries of the universe await you.  Welcome to Addie’s world!

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About the Illustrator

Elisabeth Alba lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband artist Scott Murphy and dog Rayo. New homeowners and novice gardeners, they have been learning about the natural wonders and different plants in their own backyard, as well as exploring the different hiking trails in the area. Elisabeth’s artwork focuses on fantastical, historical, and cartographic imagery, and she is inspired by her travels and the world outside her window. Check out more of her work at