Picture books about mathematics are the perfect cross-curricular tool to introduce your kids and students to complicated concepts and mathematical thinking. I made a list of my favorite math books to add to your library and inspire your children’s mathematical minds. Now, you can make learning math fun with these 54 unique math books for children!
Are you an instructor who wants to maximize your teaching and learning time with cross-curricular activities? Pete, the Cat, and His Four Groovy Buttons is an excellent book for students just learning about subtraction or addition. While building literacy skills, it also illustrates the subtraction process with lots of vivid colors and a groovy cat. It includes a song for those who are musically motivated. The ending provides the surprising bonus of a valuable moral for students to ponder.
Great book for having conversations about mathematical shapes for kids and adults of all ages! Further, this book nicely models how to have open-ended discussions. Math is not black and white, and it’s not always about getting to the one correct answer. The language of mathematics is beautiful, open-ended, and full of contradictions and opportunities to argue. This book embodies that while disguised as a children’s shape book.
Reading the story of Albert Einstein reminded me of an early Apple computer poster campaign that featured pictures of famous people like John Lennon with the simple caption, “Think Different.” Einstein was also on those posters.
This book is an introduction for young readers to Albert Einstein. In this fascinating picture book biography, Berne’s text and Radunsky’s illustrations perfectly capture Einstein’s intense fascination with and curiosity about the world and his humor and passion for life. I like that it not only talks about his time as a scientist as an adult but how he always thought and wondered as a child.
Math is so abstract to students, and every year tons of new kids come into schools that are not comfortable with math. Mostly, they hate it. This book is an informative and entertaining biography about one of the most influential mathematicians in history, Paul Erdos. It helps students understand the importance of math better and sticking with something to get better at it. It also shows that math isn’t about the number of problems you do, but rather the quality of a math work and how it impacts other people. Don’t miss illustrator, Leuyen Pham’s notes explaining how she incorporated math concepts into the illustrations.
Circle is a creative and unique book, and it takes on teaching about overcoming your math fears. Most kids would find it to be super appealing and also enjoy that they could come up with their ending since it is left open to interpretation.
The book is about four powerful women who worked at NASA and helped NASA to be successful. Their stories inspire both women and African Americans. Also, it shows how African Americans threatened not equal and then how they earned their rights. Illustrations are very detailed and meaningful. For example, women’s earrings are star, planet, and moon, and there are pictures of civil rights activists.
Curious about snow is an excellent nonfiction book about snow crystals. There are loads of facts and details about how snowflakes are formed in the book. This is a great book for little school kids who want to understand snow beyond looking out the window and seeing it fall. It is the kind of book that makes me want to get out the microscope and take a closer look at these tiny crystals of white.
This cute story tells the struggle of our main character discovers that everything in life seems to be a math problem. All the things that are thought seem to be math-related. All aspects of the day have turned into math! She can not seem to escape math problems. She believes that the teacher has placed a math curse on her. I love how the author created her. It is a great resource for students who like reading to have cross-curricular topics.
This book is another excellent book introducing us to the hidden contributions of women in STEM. This picture book biography showcases the life and work of French mathematician Sophie Germain, who overcame extreme prejudice in the 1790s to offer tremendous contributions that were gradually accepted by the males who dominated European science and math. Sophie was the only person capable of devising a formula that described vibration patterns and contributed to our understanding of prime numbers. Children will be impressed with her determination and love of math and stunned at how much it took to overcome resistance to females in math. Excellent back notes add a great deal to our understanding of her contributions.
A real event inspired this book. There was a storm, and 28,800 bath toys were lost at sea when a container load fell overboard. Then tons of people have been looking for them since this happened. In the book, ten little rubber ducks fall from a cargo ship carrying them across the sea. They all float in different directions and have various encounters with animals. I love the pages with the ocean animals that each duck meets, but it’s mostly a vehicle for lots of math words/concepts.
I think the illustrations are beautiful. You could go back to the story again and find new details. It led to some exciting research about Fibonacci and gestation periods for animals and humans!. There is a witty reference in pictures and words. I loved the mini newspaper telling rabbit field news.
My students also enjoy it. If you want to have a gentle conversation about how a number sequence develops, this is the book for you. I love anything that is a creative way into maths work.
I have heard so much about this book. It does all it promises and more. There are several math concepts put into practice by the students in the story. It is showing readers the application of math concepts covered in class, such as estimating, counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s, placing things in order, which is lovely. This book gets you wondering!
It is a fantastic book on how a great woman excelled in understanding computing and who lived 100 years ago. It is excellent to impact young women as well as our society focuses more on STEM and encouraging young girls to pursue math and sciences.
This book has every kind of note someone in middle school would need for math. It’s easy, step-by-step notes, ten questions at the end of each chapter, and answers on the back. I highly recommend these books for people that have kids that struggle in math. This book is so helpful.
This book is a beautiful story about a boy who loved snowflakes and grew up to share that love with the world! I love his determination to continue with his hobby of analyzing snowflakes and his passion for persevering. He was photographing the snowflakes so that he could share the beautiful patterns with others. This book would make an inspiring read for homeschoolers or anyone determined to self-study the topics that he or she loves best.
Math teachers may want to add this book to their collection since it teaches about fractions entertainingly. George Cornelius Factor loves fractions; in fact, he even collects them. There is plenty of humor and lots of action and colorful illustrations, even while students are learning about how to reduce fractions.
I carry this book wherever I go. It is a treasure of logic and math puzzles for students and adults alike. You can work at them for hours and exercise your brain. I also give some of the puzzles to students from middle school to high school for extra classroom activities. It is a must-have companion for math enthusiasts.
For any child who has ever felt like they didn’t fit in, Temple Grandin is a name to know. Temple was diagnosed with Autism when she was young, and this book shares her story from birth to the present. I love the straightforward honesty with which her story is presented. The rhyming text adds a bounce and poetry to her story, but her childhood is not glossed over, and her difficulties never ignored. The balance of struggles and successes helps to emphasize her strength and perseverance. Now a bestselling author, scientist, and advocate, Temple shows little kids everywhere that they are “Different, not less.”
It is a nice book for introducing even and odd numbers. Math can be so intimidating for many students, and I think this book would be a great activity for them to see that math isn’t all that hard, and it can be fun! Also, I love how the numbers in the book are written in their word form, which gives an excellent correlation for students between the number form and word form. A language arts activity can coincide with the math by having the students make up their own creative story that involves numbers.
It is a charming fictional book about how the young Pythagoras might have discovered his famous theorem. If you are not a math person, this story help you understand abstract concepts. Also it might be a good introduction/help for those starting Geometry. In any event, it is an enjoyable read.
This book has a valuable lesson in counting money and economics in a story guaranteed to make you cold just reading about it. I love that the kids didn’t give up, but couldn’t help but think they would have had popsicles without having to pay for them if they’d just stayed outside a bit longer, which was probably the point. Anyway, it’s a fun book that gently teaches and is a great way to open up a conversation about businesses and expectations and all kinds of other things.
This book is about a boy named Robert, who hates math. He has dreams where he meets with a devil who calls himself a number devil. He teaches Robert about some of the more crazy and exciting things numbers do. I feel like this is a book that would be best used with a teacher or parent. You have to have a particular understanding of these concepts to get what is being taught. A teacher or parent could use this book with children to discuss and learn about these concepts.
This book is full of fun. It is showing that the whole world is filled with big, enormous, gigantic, humongous, incredible numbers. The playful art does a pretty good job of illustrating what the text is getting at, considering it’s impossible to illustrate all three trillion trees, for example. And a smart choice to print the numeral within the text (“2,500,000”) and the name for it (“two million five hundred thousand”) at the bottom of the page.
I had tremendous fun reading this novel, and the children enjoyed it just as much. This book is a classic and one that can be read and reread, with various nuances being discovered each time.
It is a beautifully illustrated counting book with a surprise message to end on! Each number corresponds to a different primate, and, as the end of the book suggests, although there are differences between them, they are all part of the same family. With beautiful and visually bright illustrations, this is a lovely demonstration of the successful celebration of diversity! Perfect for any age.
Math teachers should better get this and start-up some lesson plans, aided by some suggestions for activities in the back! Very interesting about Fibonacci’s life and his curiosity. The math concepts are clearly presented, and the illustrations contribute to the fun of the book.
This book is kind of like a whole bunch of “math labs,” the way I would set up “science labs. “After I read it, I gave my students to read! It’s fun when playing with geometry can lead to a better understanding of math concepts.
Swirl by Swirl is a picture book tribute to spirals found in nature. A snail’s shell is the most apparent natural occurrence of a swirl shape, but this book also points out the swirls in the curls of waves, the horns of rams, and everywhere else in between. I also enjoy the fact that the stars near the end of the book resemble the ones in The House in the Night. It gives kids a good entry point into studying this artist’s style of illustration.
This gorgeously illustrated book is all about the number zero. The book is narrated from zero’s perspective. It is designed to help children develop an understanding of what zero means and how it relates to other numbers. The story is very touching, and the beautiful watercolor illustrations keep the reader engaged. The story starts by explaining what zero is, then goes on to discuss zero’s relationship to other numbers, getting up to four-digit numbers. It talks about how “zero brings value to everything.”
This book is a charming storybook. Handling a subject like infinity is hard for even the most sophisticated adults to grapple with, and managing it with grace no less. This book created a feeling in my heart of childhood wonders and warmth. The stunning illustrations are somewhat mind-blowing.
I have been fascinated by numbers all my life and absolutely enchanted with Fibonacci. This book aimed at a younger reader, and it is fascinating and most enjoyable. It is an excellent introduction for a young mathematician that can also be enjoyed as a parent/child reader. I highly recommend it.
I loved how throughout the story, it developed the ideas of probability, from at the beginning talking about winning and losing odds to talking about equivalent fractions by the end. A lovely story that children would find amusing, and one that could be made interactive too with a story sack with each of the odds games in.
A simple story about a prankster triangle who plays a trick on a square. It is much conveyed with minimal text and illustrations, and readers who appreciate ambiguity will find this picture book intriguing — another interesting collaboration by Barnett & Klassen.
This book offers a fun and imaginative way to describe just how big a million, a billion and a trillion are using concrete figures of a child’s height, time, a quantity of water, and pages of stars to illustrate the somewhat abstract concept of such large numbers.
This is a beautiful book to use in patterning, multiplication, and creative thinking! I use the book in my classroom in so many ways. We read it, then make up our own “Math Riddles” to put it into our class book. For example, Three fish had four fins each, with eight dots on each fin. How many fish? How many fins? How many dots altogether?
It is a fun book for learning and remembering some geometry concepts such as circumference, diameter, and radius. It also goes through shapes — parallelograms, circles, squares, diamonds, ovals, triangles, hexagons, etc. I think it would help children remember the definitions in a fun way. All the stories are a great way to explain and retain concepts! I especially recommend this book if you are trying to teach a math lesson just like a story; it is not all that entertaining.
The Grapes of Math is a fun book about learning necessary math skills in elementary grades. This book illustrates fun math riddles using ants, cherries, fish, etc. to show quick methods of counting and multiplying. I learned some quick ways to add and increase in my head. I would use this book to teach my students a basic lesson on problem-solving. I think it would be cool to use cherries or bugs actually to model these problems with my students.
This book is so much fun. In this book, we meet a triangle who desperately wants more sides. Throughout the book, he gains more sides until he becomes a circle and realizes, he wishes he were a triangle again. The vocabulary in this book is in a class on its own. I love that the author uses complex vocabulary such as “polygon” and defines it for young readers. Students can learn about shapes and math terminology while learning a valuable lesson about being themselves.
This is a well-researched and beautifully presented book about a Greek librarian and mathematician (well, he was undoubtedly a genius, and was interested in everything) who figured out how to measure the circumference of the earth. He was incredibly accurate!
One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale
This book initially caught my eye based on the mathematical aspect. I am currently getting an endorsement in middle school mathematics and thought it would be interesting to read a mathematical folk tale. I ended up loving this book. I thought the plot was very clever. The use of mathematics was done very well, and I liked that the raja was so surprised by the power of doubling. This book did a great job of adding an element of fun to a subject that many people often feel is dry and dull. I also greatly enjoyed the illustrations. They were colorful and did a great job of bringing to life both the plot and the mathematics.
This book has a famous painting on one page and a math riddle to practice different simple addition on the other. There isn’t a lot of detail on the background of the artists or paintings, but it is a fun way to introduce children to some works of art. The math problems are similar to “How many different ways can you add these groups together to make 8.”
I liked this book a lot. Although the title is incredibly cheesy, the story is pretty good. The writing adequately explains pi and the math behind it. I think this book is a great way to introduce students to the concept of pi. It can teach how and why pi is used. I feel that ideally, a teacher can then have an easier time expanding on the lesson because the students would already be familiar with both concepts of pi and the vocabulary that surrounds it.
Another marvelous math adventure with castles and swords, oh my! This time, covering cones, diameter, Euler’s law of the ‘two’s test,’ vertices, and more. We can’t get enough of this fun, memorable, and educational adventures.
Lisa has an important homework assignment — to measure something in several different ways. She has to use standard units like inches and nonstandard units like paper clips to find out height, width, length, weight, volume, temperature, and time. Lisa decides to measure her dog, Penny, and finds out …
Penny’s nose = 1 inch long
Penny’s tail = 1 dog biscuit long
Penny’s paw print = 3 centimeters wide
… and that’s only the beginning! Lisa learns a lot about her dog and about measuring and even has fun doing it. This clear and engaging concept book, delivered with a sense of humor, is certain to win over the most reluctant mathematician.
Hup, two, three, four! We’re in the 25th Army Corps. Queen’s count! Two, three! We are the marching infantry! Poor Joe! He wants to march in the parade, but every time the lines are uneven, he must stand aside. What’s a poor bug to do? Joe is determined. He studies the problem, relining the twenty-five bugs in his squadron from two lines to three lines to four lines until inspiration and fortitude result in five lines of five — and Joe fits in the last.
B is for Binary, F is for Fibonacci, P is for Probability… even a small sample begins to give you the idea that this is a math book unlike any other. Ranging freely from exponents to light-years to numbers found in nature, this smorgasbord of math concepts and trivia makes a perfect classroom companion or gift book for the budding young mathematician at home. Even the most reluctant math student will be drawn in by the author’s trademark wit, Marissa Moss’s quirky illustrations and funny captions, and the answers revealed in W is for “ When are we ever gonna use this stuff, anyway?” Download the G is for Googol Teacher’s Guide(300K)
Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. That’s what all the other numbers think of Zero. He doesn’t add anything in addition. He’s of no use in division. And don’t even ask what he does in multiplication. (Hint: Poof!) But Zero knows he’s worth a lot, and when the other numbers get into trouble, he swoops in to prove that his talents are innumerable.
Matt and Bibi use math to escape from a pharaoh’s tomb! When the Zills family is summoned to Egypt to help find the hidden burial site of an ancient pharaoh, Matt and Bibi are locked into an adventure they did not expect. Stuck inside a pyramid with only each other, their dog Riley, and geometric hieroglyphics to help them find their way, the twins must use their math knowledge to solve the riddles on the walls and locate the burial chamber. Luckily, the two know their stuff when it comes to geometric solids.
Rumpelstiltskin is back! This time he’s making mischief with his multiplying stick. Can Peter unlock the secret of the stick in time to save the kingdom? Whimsical illustrations bring fun to multiplying whole numbers and fractions.
A superb illustrated book that talks about multiplication and fractions. It talks about how you can have two islands with different countries and so on and so on to get the students thinking. You could have your students come up with their examples based on the book and have them swap with a partner to have their partner solve their riddle and factorial.
1 told 2 and 2 told 3, “I’ll race you to the top of the apple tree.” One hundred and one numbers climb the apple tree in this bright, rollicking, joyous book for young children. As the numerals pile up and bumblebees threaten, what’s the number that saves the day? (Hint: It rhymes with “hero.”) Read and count and play and laugh to learn the surprising answer.
A perfect square is transformed into this adventure story that will transport you far beyond the four equal sides of this square book.
This is a great book to have students practice with multiplication up to five. Students will learn how to multiply in a fun way using Halloween related scenarios. It helps students get engaged with math using Halloween objects that motivate the students to learn.
Math and Magic in Wonderland
Lulu and Elizabeth are two girls who love to play with numbers, words, and (on occasion) toy swords. Join them on a grand adventure, where classic math and logic riddles lead the way through a world inspired by Lewis Carroll’s poetry. Filled with engaging puzzles, tidbits about famous mathematicians, and a dash of humor, this interactive book is sure to inspire adults and children, alike, to follow their own rabbit trails into the magical world of mathematics.