Our world can seem pretty confusing sometimes. But do you ever wonder why it works the way it does? Author of the Tuttle Twins series, Connor Boyack and writer Brittany Hunter are here to help you understand how the world works so you can make educated opinions about our wonderfully crazy world.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Connor: Hey Brittany.
Brittany: Hey Connor.
Connor: How are you doing
Brittany: Wonderful. How about you?
Connor: I am excited to be here on a new podcast. We got all our equipment set up. We got a lot of fun stuff to talk about on the way the world works. So thanks for being here with me.
Brittany: Of course. Thanks for having me.
Connor: So, you and I have known each other for a few years and our audience knows me at least a little bit. I have my picture in the back of the books they’ve read and, you know, two or three sentences about who I am, but I wanna take some time on this first podcast before we really get into the nitty gritty of like some of the cool ideas and, and events and news. We’re gonna talk about to help our listeners understand a little bit more of who we are and what we’re planning to do on this podcast. So Connor is the name they’re probably more familiar with. So before I maybe share a little bit more about myself, let’s maybe spend a little time to get to know Britney. So give us a little bit, give our listeners a little bit of an idea about who you are and what you do and, and why you’re here with me.
Brittany: Yeah. So I am Britney Hunter. I write articles for newspapers and websites all around the country. And I talk about current events that are happening. Part of the reason I like doing this is I like to help people understand why things are happening. I think a lot of times today we hear news, but we don’t know what it is or why it affects us or why it matters. So my job as a writer is to take things that normally sound pretty confusing and complicated, but to put them in terms that everybody can understand. So that’s kind of what I wanna do for you guys is help you understand all the crazy things going on.
Connor: You Brittany have written a lot and, and some fun articles that I’ve enjoyed reading and in your little description where you talk about who you are, you, you share something, you’ll probably remember this better than I do, but you say something like that. You like teaching timeless principles with timely stories. Did I get that right?
Brittany: Yes. Using timely stories to teach timeless principles. So you got your very close.
Connor: I love that. And I’ve actually stolen that a little bit from time to time, cuz I like that same thing. And I think that’s probably, a good kind of summary of what we wanna do on this podcast. We’re gonna talk about some really fun stories or stories that are happening right now in the news or that happened in history even. And we can kind of go back and talk about it, but all these stories can teach us some really important things about principles and your average person probably just lives life, and you know, lives through these stories and the news and the events without really taking time to understand what are those ideas that they can, you know, pull out of it. What should they be learning from those stories that they can apply? So I really like that summary, of you know, timely stories, timeless principles. I think that’s really exciting. Tell me, tell me this, Brittany. So you’ve written a lot. What inspires you to write about these ideas? What kind of motivates you in wanting to teach other people about, these principles and these ideas?
Brittany: Yeah, well, just like everybody listening to this podcast, I wanna know more and I had to kind of realize that I don’t always know the answers and I don’t always have, you know, everything, at my disposal. So I like to go on what I kind of call treasure hunts for information. So when I hear an article or hear about a news story and I don’t really understand the details of it, I just start with Google and I type in, you know, some key terms and I go on a little treasure hunt and I try to find as much as I can. And that doesn’t mean looking at one view or you know, another view because so many things in our world today are, are very biased or skewed. People have their opinions and they don’t wanna change them. So I like to kind of look at everyone’s opinions and, find my own truth from that. So that’s why I like writing. And then I like to share what I’ve learned with everybody else.
Connor: Now your background includes being a teacher, right?
Brittany: It does.
Connor: So talk, about that. When were you a teacher and who did you teach?
Brittany: Yeah, so I was a teacher. It was about eight years ago now a little bit ago, but I taught third graders. So eight years old to nine years old. And that was one of my favorite years ever. So we got to go through kind of what we’re doing here. We got to talk about some complex world issues, some news stories, and learn about how the world works in ways that, that they can understand that you guys can understand. So that was a while ago and I missed teaching and this will give me the opportunity to do some teaching. Again.
Connor: I’m excited. You, taught at a school that I actually attended when I was that old.
Brittany: I did know that.
Connor: Yeah, I, so this is Challenger School. It’s a private school in a bunch of different states now and their first school or one of their first schools was out in California, near the bay area where I grew up in San Jose. And so I remember being this little kid playing out at recess. I don’t remember much about the classes, but I remember recess pretty well on some of the games that we would play. And fast forward to, as you say, eight or nine years ago, I was living in this area in Utah and right behind my home, they’re like, “Oh hey! We’re gonna build a school.” And it ended up being the challenger school. Absolutely. Didn’t you work at that one in Lehigh?
Brittany: I didn’t work at that one. I at the one in Draper towards Draper.
Connor: Okay. Little to the north,
Brittany: Little to the north. But one great thing that I loved about Challenger is one of our mottos is we help teach kids how to think, not what to think. And I think that’s very important. And I think that’s something we’ll probably wanna do here, where we are not here to tell you what to think or about an issue or tell you this is bad, or this is good, but we want to give you as much information as you can, so you can make those decisions for yourself.
Connor: I like that. And the Tuttle Twins books, have really started a lot of interesting conversations, what I’ve found and, and tell me your thoughts on this Brittany, from your teaching experience. And you’ve got, you know, nieces and nephews and everything like that too, is it seems to me that the kids who read our books and I think probably most kids out there, they’re really curious. They want to understand the way the world works. They’re, wondering why certain things are the way they are and do they have to be that way or who decided that this would be that way. And so, kids ask a lot of questions. And what I’ve found is that a lot of the books that are out there for kids to read a lot of the, the teaching that’s done, it’s about things that kids don’t really find interesting.
It’s not helping them make sense of their world, or it’s treating them like they’re kids, you know, you read a, a kid’s book and it’s got a lot of like silly stories and sure. That’s fun. And a lot of kids like that. But I think what a lot of kids like about the Tuttle Twins books is that they’re books for kids, but they’ve kind of got adult ideas in them or big kid ideas where maybe the words are a little bigger, that the terms are new. They’re having to learn like what inflation is, right. Or they’re having to learn what individual rights are. And so kids seem to like learning about these ideas that are these big kid ideas. It helps the, the kids feel like they’re kind of maturing and growing up. Did you experience that at all that you saw cuz challenger has a pretty kind of rigorous you know, they’re teaching a lot about the constitution and history and rights and stuff. So in your experience teaching, what did you observe in the kids as you were teaching these kind of more complex ideas?
Brittany: One thing that I found very interesting was you said my favorite word, which is curiosity, is how curious my students were and how much they wanted to learn. Another thing I thought was really interesting is I also used to do campaigns. I used to help people get elected for office. So I would knock on doors and I would try to teach people ideas. One thing I thought was really interesting is when you try to teach adults new ideas, they don’t wanna listen.
Brittany: They’re so stuck in what they already believe, that they don’t really want to learn new information or to hear anything else, but kids aren’t that way. My students weren’t that way. And I’m sure our listeners aren’t that way either where they wanted to learn everything they possibly could. And they wanted to ask as many questions as they could and make sure they had the right answer. So, it was really exciting to me to see so many young people, so curious to learn new things they had never learned before. And that’s something that a lot of grownups forget how to do.
Connor: You know, it’s been interesting when doing the Tuttle Twins books that when we started, we said, “Hey, we’re gonna make books for kids.” And so that’s what we did. That’s what we’ve done. But something else happened that we didn’t really plan for. And we didn’t really expect. And that was, there was this whole second group of people reading the books that were learning and excited by the ideas and benefiting from them. And I didn’t plan for this at all. And it wasn’t, it’s not the kids, it’s their parents. So some of the kids listening to this and certainly, you know, mom or dad, there will probably be quite a number of people. Nodding. We get emails every day and I’m, I’m not joking quite literally multiple emails a day from parents saying, “Hey, my kids love the books.” “These have been great, but oh my gosh, I’ve learned more things in your books that I remember learning about any of this back in school” or “No one taught me these things”
Just yesterday, I got an email from a grandma, and right now, Brittany, when you and I are recording this we’re still in the middle of all this Corona Virus stuff and there’s shutdowns and things like that. And so this grandma was saying that she couldn’t visit her grandkids because of her own personal health that she was being careful for. And so what she did is she bought Tuttle Twins books for herself and for her grandkids. And she was reading to them over FaceTime with her iPad.
Brittany: Oh that’s so fun!
Connor: And so she was explaining to me in this email that she said I was reading it to the kids. She’s like, they were so excited by these books that when their mom said, Hey, it’s time to go. You know, like swimming in the pool, the kids are like, no, we don’t want to, we want to keep reading.
She’s like, that’s how I know they were really interested in the books. But then what she said is I’ve learned so much from these books. I never even knew about something like the federal reserve, right? Or any of these things. And so it’s really interesting that so many adults is you say it’s harder for adults to kind of change their mind. But one of the, the secrets maybe of the Tuttle Twins books is that when it’s presented a little bit more simply and with coloring pages and things like that, you know, especially if you’re reading along with a child, a lot of the adults, they’re kind of, you know, defenses maybe are lower. They’re more curious to kind of learn along with their child. And so we’ve actually seen a number of parents were like, “Wow, I never thought about it that way before.” So that’s super fun to see that the old dogs among us can learn new tricks maybe.
Brittany: Yeah. And it’s fun, you know, as a kid to think, oh, my parents are still learning things. I know when I was little, I had that feeling that they knew everything and that they were just encyclopedias. But you know, like you were saying, when you learn together with your parents, it’s a fun experience. Cuz you get to see that you’re both doing something new together.
Connor: I’m glad you pointed that out. I think that’s really interesting that as the parents and kids are learning together, it kind of creates this atmosphere where we’re all kind of on the same path together. It’s not mom and dad or know it alls and they’re just gonna, you know, regurgitate for me all, that’s a big word regurgitate. My, my daughter had actually literally this morning came across the word regurgitate in a book and she’s like, dad, what does regurgitate mean? And then I said, read the sentence, let me see how they’re using it. And they were, they were using it in the sense of like just vomiting it. What I meant to say is you know, we’re not just, we don’t want you to regurgitate like information. We don’t want to think that mom and dad are know-it-alls and they can just kind of spit out all the information in their head.
And suddenly you’re gonna learn everything too. You and I, Brittany, as adults, as you said, like, you’re curious, you go on these, what did you call them? Treasure hunt?
Brittany: Treasure hunts.
Connor: Yeah! We’re all on the treasure hunts. We’re always trying and hopefully, I mean a lot of adults maybe don’t, but you know, I think it’s a good practice to always be learning. And so I’m excited about this podcast. Certainly, we want to talk to all the kids out there. We’re gonna try and talk in a way that is targeted to the same age range as the books and so younger kids, teenagers as well and certainly then the parents, we want to talk in a way that’s a little more simple and that’s a little clear. So as I said, like I just used the word regurgitate and a lot of kids are probably like, what does that mean?
So, I wanna, when we have these terms, Brittany, you might interrupt me or I might interrupt you and say, well, hang on. What do you mean by that? Let’s learn a new word together and let’s better understand things. So we wanna make sure that all you kids out there listening and the parents we’re all gonna learn together. Maybe you’re on a car ride, you know, maybe you’re out on a walk together with the dog or however, you’re gonna listen to these podcasts together. We want to be something that when you finish listening you know; you can turn it off and you can talk about it together. Just like the books that there’s the discussion questions. And after you read and learn, you can talk about it together. And so that I think is one of the important goals behind what you’re doing. Brittany, you decided to join me on this podcast. And so what are your goals? What are you hoping to accomplish? As we talk about all these timely stories and timeless principles, what are your goals in talking to this audience?
Brittany: I want to make sure everyone gets excited about learning new things. I know sometimes school can be a little bit boring. I know we’re not supposed to say that, but sometimes school can be a little bit boring and sometimes we learn things in school that we learn again from a TV show or something else. But we remember it more when we learn it from something that’s entertaining that makes us happy, that you know, is fun. So I want that to be what this podcast is. I want kids and, and their parents to get excited about listening because they’ll get to learn something new, but they’re gonna be excited about it. And it’s gonna make sense in their lives. It’s not gonna be just something that happened to someone 50 years ago. It’s gonna be something that is happening right now, and that impacts your life or did happen years ago. And it’s still impacting your life. So to really get you excited about learning, that is my hope.
Connor: I love that a lot. I remember when I was a kid and I would read about for example, American history and I would always think like, okay, great. This thing happened in 1832 to this guy, but what does that matter in my life? Exactly. Like, why should I care? You know, in fact, I shouldn’t do this and I wasn’t planning on doing this, but what the heck not let’s throw caution to the wind. One of the top-secret projects I’m working on right now is a history book for the Tuttle Twins, all of our books don’t really talk about history. They just talk about timeless principles. But I’ve been thinking a lot about, you know, we should do this history book and maybe talk a little bit more about our past.
And so what I did is I went online and I bought a whole bunch of social studies books. And I have a big stack just over here in my office where I’m recording this and I flipped through them. And it’s exactly what you and I were just talking about. It’s got all these like dates and names and events. And like when did George Washington do this? And when did you know Patrick Henry say that? And it’s like, you, read all that stuff. And as a kid, you gotta be thinking, you know, even if you maybe don’t express it, but you gotta think in the back of your mind, like, okay, so what you know, like
Brittany: Why, why do I need to know
Connor: Yeah! Why does it matter? And so the, the book that I’m working on is gonna try and resolve that so that kids can understand yeah. That why those timeless principles that had an impact two, 300 years ago are be applied in our lives today. What’s happening in the world today that, you know, for the adults, for the kids, if we understand those principles, we can make better sense of the way the world is working. And so that’s what I’m excited about for this podcast as well, is that we can use those principles. We can talk about history. We can talk about what’s happening in the news. We can talk about books, we’re reading videos. We’ve watched, we’re gonna give you guys lots of recommendations. You know, if we come across an article that would be really good for you guys as a family to learn more from or talk about, we wanna share that with you, Brittany, and I wanna talk about it together. And so I’m super excited because we’ve been writing all these books and I send a lot of emails to our audience. And we’ve got hundreds of thousands of people now kind of in the Tuttle Twins community out there, but I’ve, so many people in the past few months say we need a podcast, we need a podcast, you know? And so here we are. I’m excited, Brittany, thanks for joining me.
Brittany: Thanks for having me. I’m very excited to talk to you and too our audience.
Connor: This is gonna be a lot of fun guys, and we’re very excited. So make sure that you subscribe, download that app on your phone subscribe to the channel. However you wanna listen to podcasts. All of this is gonna be Tuttletwins.com/podcast. And so make sure you’re subscribed. We’ll be doing several of these a week and be putting out regular episodes. So we wanna make sure that you have a place to continue to learn whether you’re running errands or you’re, you know, driving to school or whatever it is you’re doing. Make sure that we’re part of your day that you can be thinking about the way the world works. Be very curious, as Brittany said about what’s happening and stick along for the journey. So Brittany, thanks again. And I’m very excited.
Brittany: Thanks me too. And I we’ll talk to everybody next time.