About the Author

Joey Benun is the author of Pebbles and the Biggest Number and the creative mind behind all the characters you find in the book.

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From the Author

This book has been 19 years in the making.

From the time I was 5 years old, I’ve loved numbers. But not just numbers – BIG numbers, the bigger the better! I already knew a million, a billion, and a trillion, but what came next? About a few years later, I searched Google. Quintillion, sextillion, septillion . . . Wow, incredible! I thought. I copied all my numbers down, color-coded them and made them different sizes, and created my very first book.

A few years later, while watching a game show on TV, the contestant was given the names of four gigantic numbers. One of them was fake, and she had to figure out which one. Not only did she not know the answer, no one in my family did either. I loved knowing something none of the adults around me knew.

Fast forward 12 years…and I’m sitting at the kitchen table with my niece and nephews. They were all showing off what big numbers they knew. One said a million, the next said a billion, the next said a gazillion, and the next said a katrillion. I chimed in and said, “Hey, gazillon isn’t a real number, and neither is katrillion. Now, who knows what comes after a billion?”

My 9-year-old nephew proudly proclaimed, “A trillion!”

I said, “Okay, and what comes after a trillion?”

Silence….

“A quadrillion comes after a trillion,” I answered. “That’s a 1 with 15 zeroes.”

“WHAT?” 5-year-old Morris squeaked. “Are you for real?” shouted his older sister Sophie. “You’re making this up!” accused Sammy.

“Nope,” I said, “and you know what comes after a quadrillion?”

“A gajillion?” Morris asked hopefully.

“Nope,” I said. “A quintillion.”

They go crazy. Then they ask, “What comes after a quintillion?” And so on and so forth….

They’ve gone nuts – and these are definitely not math-loving kids. Well, since I love big numbers so much, it’s only natural that I think big, too! What BIG thing could I do with all these BIG numbers?

I researched big numbers, but it wasn’t easy to get information. When I finally found their names, I was disappointed to learn that they were explained in a way that was hard to relate to. Like what happens if you take a million kids and have them stand on each other’s shoulders – how tall would they be? Or what do a billion pennies look like?

Cute idea, but I had a different vision. I wanted to take all these huge numbers and explain them in a way that even a young child could understand. Like the world contains a trillion trees, a quadrillion ants, a quintillion grains of sand, etc. And thinking BIG, I wanted older kids to love reading the book, too. How could I pull this off?

So I created Pebbles, our main character. I had him explore the world and learn about each new number from a different animal in a unique environment that connects to the number. Thus, a red-eyed tree frog tells Pebbles (and us!) about the trillion trees in the rainforest. A crab on the beach tells us how much sand is in the world, a bald eagle teaches us….

And for the older kids, I sprinkled in Fun Facts, Science Spots, and Number Notes throughout the book that were relevant to the animals, numbers, and environments Pebbles encounters. At the end of the book, there’s even more extra stuff to amaze all readers!

I hope you enjoy Pebbles and the Biggest Number as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it!

Yours truly,

Joey Benun

About Joey Benun

Joey Benun has always thought BIG. His fascination with numbers began when he was five years old—the bigger, the better. Years later, a fortuitous conversation with his niece and nephews inspired him to write a book about BIG numbers for little kids. Thus, Pebbles and the Biggest Number was born! Years before Pebbles took flight, nine-year-old Joey wrote his first comic book series called The Ketchup Monster, a tale of a discarded ketchup packet who exacts his revenge by attacking the school.

Today, Joey works and lives in Brooklyn, New York, as an Amazon account manager for his family-owned apparel business, The Bentex Group. During his free time, he enjoys engaging in religious studies, listening to TED Talks, and playing tennis.

The First Book Joey Ever Wrote

Back in second grade, my teacher had us write our own picture book. I wrote about another curious character, Curious George, and my sister illustrated. Fifteen years later, when I decided to write Pebbles and the Biggest Number, that memory was still fresh in my mind.