Children’s books with mathematics themes

Math books

Compiled by Dr. Patricia S. Moyer-Packenham–Director of Math Education Center, George Mason University.

Through reading these books, your children will have the opportunity to build their reading and math abilities in meaningful ways. Read each story many times, and be sure to talk with your children about the math concepts used in the book. When children can talk about math concepts, the concepts usually make sense to them.

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich last Sunday. Viorst, J. (1978) – Last Sunday, Alexander received a dollar from his grandparents; now, he only has bus tokens. Children can explore the concept of money. (preschool-3)

Amanda Bean's Amazing Dream. Neuschwander, C. (1998) – This book encourages children's transition from counting to skip counting to multiplication–stresses importance of knowing multiplication facts. (preschool-3)

Among the Odds & Evens. Turner, P. (1999) – X and Y travel to the land of odd and even numbers where they find some unusual patterns of behavior between these two groups of numbers. (preschool-3)

Animals on Board. Murphy, S. J. (1998) – While driving her truck carrying a very special load, Jill counts and adds (0 to 10) the number of animals that she sees on trucks passing by. (baby-preschool)

Anno's Counting Book. Anno, M. (1986) – The changing of the seasons beautifully illustrates numbers 1-12 (preschool-3)

Anno's Magic Seeds. Anno, M. (1999) – Anno's Magic Seeds demonstrates how an interesting story and interesting mathematics problem can create a wonderful mathematical situation. (K-3)

Anno's Math Games. Anno, M. (1997) – Anno's Math Games shows students how to classify, graph, sequence, add, and subtract. (1-6)

Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar. (1993) Anno, M., & Anno, M –The concept of factorials is introduced through pictures and illustrations showing their application to everyday situations. (multiplication) (preschool-3)

Bear in a Square. Blackstone, S. (1998) – Bear in a Square introduces children to basic concepts about 2-dimensional shapes. (baby-preschool)

Benny's Pennies. Brisson, P. (1993) – What will Benny McBride buy with five new pennies? Find the answer in this introduction to money and counting. (K-2)

The Best Vacation Ever. Murphy, S. J. (1997) – A girl collects data and makes charts to help her family decide where to go for the best vacation ever. (preschool-3)

Betcha. Murphy, S. J. (1997) – The main character shows strategies for making reasonable estimates by grouping things into arrays (length and width) and by their volume (length, width, and height). (preschool-3)

Brown Rabbit's Shape Book. Baker, A. (1999) – Brown Rabbit's ShapeBook introduces children to basic concepts about 2-dimensional shapes. (baby-preschool)

The Button Box. Reid, M. (1995) – Grandma's button box contains tantalizing treasures and amazing activities. (baby-preschool)

A Caribbean Counting Book. Charles, F., & Arenson, R. (1996) – A Caribbean Counting Book contains counting rhymes from the Caribbean. (preschool-3)

A Chair for My Mother. Williams, V. (1994) – A girl, her mother, and her grandmother save their coins in a large jar to buy a new chair after a fire destroys their home and furniture.(money) (preschool-3)

A Cloak for the Dreamer. Friedman, A. (1994) – A tailor and his sons sew together pieces of cloth to create cloaks. The geometric designs can be used to begin a variety of mathematical investigations. (preschool-3)

Counting Crocodiles. Sierra, J. (2001) – A resourceful monkey counts crocodiles and in the process is able to walk on the crocodiles' backs to get the bananas he wants on an island across the sea. (baby-preschool)

Counting on Frank. Clement, R. (1991) – The main character counts, estimates, compares, and measures, often using his dog Frank as a "base unit." Activities are given in the back of the book. It will amuse older children. (preschool-3)

Divide and Ride. Murphy, S. J. (1997) – Divide and Ride explores division with remainders. (preschool-3)

Domino Addition. Long, L. (1996) – The ways numbers are grouped for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are explored by showing fact family combinations that add to get numbers from 1 to 12. (preschool-3)

Dominoes Around the World. Lankford, M. D. (1998) – This is a collection of challenging domino games and puzzles from around the world. Math skills and problem solving strategies are applied during games. (preschool-3)

The Doorbell Rang. Hutchins, P. (1986) – The Doorbell Rang engages children in the common problem of fair sharing which is a foundational concept for learning division. It uses real world problems. (preschool-3)

Each Orange Had 8 Slices. Giganti, P. (1992) – Each Orange Had 8 Slices shows objects in groups of groups and reinforces the concept of multiplication as repeated addition. ((baby-preschool)

Elevator Magic. Murphy, S. J. (1997) – Elevator Magic explains the concept of subtraction. Ben subtracts his way down the elevator making some unusual stops along the way. (preschool-3)

The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery. Base, G. (1989) – Visual clues and hidden messages spur critical thinking and problem-solving skills as students solve this "who-done-it." (preschool-3)

Emily's First 100 Days of School. Wells, R. (2000) – Emily's First 100 Days of School counts with Emily from 1 to 100 (example: 52 cards in a deck for the number 52). (preschool-3)

A Fair Bear Share. Murphy, S. J. (1998) – Four bear cubs gather berries, seeds, and nuts for Mama Bear's Blue Ribbon Blueberry Pie. They count the objects by placing them into groups of tens and ones. (Regrouping) (preschool-3)

Feast for 10. Falwell, C. (1993) – Feast for 10 explores the numbers from 1 to 10. (preschool-3)

Fraction Action. Leedy, L. (1994) – The author show various representations of common fractions, both region and set models, fair sharing, fractions and money, and pictorial ways to represent fractions using models. (preschool-3)

Fraction Fun. Adler, D. (1996) – The author introduces fractions through bright cartoons that incorporate pizza pie and coins. (preschool-3)

From One to One Hundred. Sloat, T. (1995) – From One to One Hundred counts 1 to 10, then by 10's to 100 with beautiful illustrations. (baby-preschool)

G is for Googol. Schwartz, D. (1998) – A math alphabet book that is filled with interesting mathematics vocabulary. The definitions are student-friendly with diagrams and illustrations. (4-12)

Galimoto. Williams, K. L. (1990) – Khondi is determined to make a galimoto–a toy vehicle made of wires. All day Kondi goes about the village gathering up the wire he needs. (preschool-3)

Gator Pie. Mathews, L. (1995) – Two alligators find a delicious pie near the swamp and plan to share the pie equally in two halves, but other alligators come along and want, pie presenting problems. (Fractions) (baby-12)

Get Up and Go! Murphy, S. J. 1996) – The book explains the concepts of time lines and addition as a girl gets ready for school with the help of her dog who builds time lines to keep track of passing time. (preschool-3)

Give Me Half. Murphy, S. J. (1996) – Books such as Give Me Half help children to understand beginning concepts of "half." (1-3)

The Grapes of Math: Mind Stretching Math Riddles. Tang, G. (2001) – In The Grapes of Math children are encouraged to use grouping relationships to make counting more efficient. (4-7)

Grandfather Tang's Story: A Tale Told with Tangrams. Tompert, A. (1990) – Grandfather Tang's Story explores geometric shapes and patterns and represents geometry found in another culture. (baby-preschool)

The Great Divide. Dodds, D. A. (1999) – The ways numbers are grouped for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are explored as 80 participants in a race divide themselves repeatedly until one finishes the race. (1-4)

The Greedy Triangle. Burns, M. (1994) – In The Greedy Triangle children learn correct mathematical terminology for identifying polygons by the number of sides. (exploring geometry) (1-3)

The Hershey's Milk Chocolate Fractions Book. Pallotta, J. (1999) – This book uses a Hershey bar to explore parts of a whole, equivalent fractions, addition and subtraction of fractions, lowest terms, and improper fractions. (preschool-3)

The History of Counting. Schmandt-Besserat, D. (1999) – In this historically accurate and beautifully illustrated book, children can investigate numerals and number words used in counting and calculating in base-10. (3-5)

How Big Is a Foot? Myller, R. (1991) – This appealing story about a king helps students grasp basic concepts of measurement and see how units of measure relate to the real world. (K-3)

How Many, How Many, How Many. Walton, R. (1993) – This book deals with counting from 1 to 12. (preschool-1)

How Much Is a Million? Schwartz, D. (1993) – How Much Is a Million? explores very large numbers such as a million, a billion, and a trillion. (4-6)

How Tall, How Short, How Faraway. Adler, D. (1999) – This book provides a historical perspective on measurement: Egyptian, Roman, English, and metric with illustrations of different measures. (2-4)

How the Second Grade Got $8,205.50 to visit the Statue of Liberty. Zimelman, N. (1992) – This book is an example of an interesting problem situation. (an understanding of money) (preschool-3)

The I Hate Mathematics Book. Burns, M. (1975) – This book shows that there is more to mathematics than just arithmetic. It uses games and tricks to show readers how to be a mathematical heavyweight. (4-7)

The Icky Bug Counting Book. Pallotta, J. (1992) – This counting book counts bugs from 0 to 26 (one bug for each letter of the alphabet) and provides information about an interesting variety of bugs. (baby-preschool)

If You Made a Million. Schwartz, D. (1989) – This book explores the use of different coins to equal sums of money ranging from $1 to $1,000,000. What could children buy with $1,000,000? (4-6)

Inch by Inch. Lionni, L. (1995) – A clever inchworm avoids being eaten by demonstrating how useful he is as a measurement tool. (An investigation of measurement) (preschool-3)

Inchworm and a Half. Pinczes, E. (2001) – A puzzled inchworm and her friends are on a quest through the vegetable garden, learning about fractions and measurement. (1-3)

Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? Wells, R. E. (1993) – This book illustrates the concept of size by comparing such large things as a blue whale, a mountain, a star, and the universe. (2-3)

Jim and the Beanstalk. Briggs, R. (1997) – Here's a twist on a familiar tale that will elicit laughter and learning about measurement and proportion. (preschool-3)

The King's Chessboard. Birch, D. (1993) – This book demonstrates the number pattern of exponential growth. A wise old man requests grains of rice according to the number of squares on a king's chessboard. (preschool-3)

The King's Commissioners. Friedman, A. (1994) – Children are shown several ways of skip counting (by 2's, 5's, and 10's), a foundational skill for learning multiplication, division, and place value. (preschool-3)

Knots on a Counting Rope. Martin, B., & Archambault, J. (1987) – A boy learns about his family history through time, counting, measurement, logic, and estimation activities. (baby-preschool)

Let's Fly a Kite. Murphy, S. J. (2000) – In Let's Fly a Kite, two siblings, Hannah and Bob, learn about symmetry when their babysitter helps them build and fly a kite. (preschool-3)

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth. Lasky, K. (1994) – The Librarian Who Measured the Earth is the story of Eratosthenes and his quest to find a way to measure the circumference of the earth. (preschool-3)

Little Rabbit's First Number Book. Baker, A. (1998) – This book counts from 1 to 20. (baby-preschool)

Math Curse. Scieszka, J., & Smith, L. (1995) – Many of us take the mathematics in the world around us for granted. The main character thinks of everything in life as a math problem. (preschool-3)

Mathematics. Adler, I. (1990) – Mathematics teaches children about angles, square numbers, Fibonacci numbers, the golden ratio, prime numbers, triangles, polygons, and square roots. (4-7)

The M & M's Counting Book. McGrath, B. B. (1994) – This book teaches numbers 1-12, colors, shapes, sets of 12, and even a "tasty" subtraction lesson! (preschool-3)

Math in the Bath (and other fun places, too!). Atherly, S. (1995) – Math in the Bath (and other fun places too), for younger children, shows students how mathematics is a part of their everyday experiences. (1-4)

Midnight Math. Ledwon, P., & Mets, M. (2000) – This is a collection of 12 brief mathematics games for young children. They practice basic skills such as sorting, addition, subtraction, and multiplication. (preschool-3)

A Million Fish...More or Less. McKissack, P. (1992) – This book teaches basic addition. Miss Prime and her class make up work problems, add large numbers, and check their work. (4-6)

Mission Addition. Leedy, L. (1997) – The book explores computational procedures for addition. (preschool-3)

Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book. Feelings, M. (1996) – The counting numbers from 1 to 10 in Swahili are introduced. Beautiful drawings present information about East African culture. (preschool-3)

Mouse Count. Walsh, E. S. (1991) – Opportunities to count forwards and backwards are provided in this appealing story, which introduces the benefits of cooperative problem solving. (baby-preschool)

One Hundred Hungry Ants. Pinczes, E. (1999) – This book explores various ways of grouping 100 ants who are on their way to a picnic and lets children connect a word problem with appropriate calculations. (preschool-3)

1 Hunter. Hutchins, P. (1996) – Children have fun counting the animals the hunter does not see in this math tale. (preschool-3)

1, 2, 3 to the Zoo. Carle, E. (1996) – 1,2,3 To the Zoo explores the numbers from 1 to 10. (baby-preschool)

Only One. Harshman, M. (1993) – A county fair presents many entertaining opportunities for counting the parts of a whole. (preschool-1)

Pepper's Journal: A Kitten's First Year. Murphy, S. J. (2000) – Children learn calendar concepts as Lisa writes in her journal about her new kitten, Pepper. (K-2)

Planet Monster. Maisner, H. (1996) – Children work through a number puzzle adventure in a self-directed book. Basic skills used include classifying, sorting, counting, telling time, and discriminating shapes. (1-3)

Reese's Pieces Count by Fives. Pallotta, J. (2000) – This book uses candy to count by 5's to 100. (preschool-3)

A Remainder of One. Pinczes, E. (1995) – A squadron of 25 bugs tries unsuccessfully to divide evenly for a parade. After several attempts, the squadron finds that 5 rows of 5 is the solution to the dilemma. (preschool-3)

Roman Numerals I to MM. Geisert, A. (1996) – A pig farm serves as an "abacus." Readers determine the values of the Roman symbols I, V, X, L, D and M by counting the number of piglets in each picture. (K-3)

Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt. Ernst, L. C. (1992) – Illustrated with border designs based on well-known quilt patterns, this spirited tale is ideal for introducing patterns and symmetry. (K-6)

17 Kings and 42 Elephants. Mahy, M. (1987) – Seventeen kings and 42 elephants set out on a journey on a rainy night. Children can count all of the different animals as they make their way through the jungle. (preschool-3)

The Shape of Things. Dodds, D. A. (1994) – The Shape of Things introduces young children to common shapes and shows where they can be seen in the world around them. (K-3)

Shapes, Shapes, Shapes. Hoban, T. (1996) – Shapes, Shapes, Shapes introduces children to basic concepts about 2-dimensional shapes. (K-3)

Shota and the Star Quilt. Bateson-Hill, M. (1998) – Shota and the Star Quilt explores geometric shapes and patterns, and represents geometry found in a different culture. (preschool-3)

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi. Neuschwander, C. (1999) – Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi reveals how the diameter and circumference measures of circles arrive at pi. (4-7)

Sir Cumference and the First Round Table. Neuschwander, C. (2002) – This book introduces students to the vocabulary of circle measurement (circumference, diameter, and radius). (preschool-3)

Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland. Neuschwander, C. (2001) – With only a circular medallion, a mysterious poem, and his own wits; Radius must find and rescue a missing king. (4-7)

Spaghetti and Meatballs for All. Burns, M. (1997) – Mrs. Comfort is planning a family reunion and designs a seating chart with square tables based on the ideas of perimeter and area. (5-6)

Spots: Counting Creatures from Sky to Sea. Lesser, C. (1999) – Spots: Counting Creatures from Sky to Sea counts from 1 to 10 using animals that live in different biomes. (preschool-3)

Spunky Monkeys on Parade. Murphy, S. J. (1999) – In Spunky Monkeys on Parade, monkeys pass in groups of two, three, and four. Readers can count them as the parade goes by. (preschool-3)

The Story of Clocks and Calendars: Marking a Millennium. Maestro, B. (1999) – Marking a Millennium shows the evolution of time measurement exploring a variety of clocks and calendars. (2-5)

Subtraction Action. Leedy, L. (2000) – This book explores computational procedures for subtraction. (K-2)

The Sultan's Snakes. Turpin, L. (1990) – The Sultan's Snakes explores geometric shapes and patterns, and represents geometry found in a different culture. (preschool-6)

Super Sand Castle Saturday. Murphy, S. J. (1999) – Three friends learn about measurement when they compete in a sand castle contest to build the tallest tower, the deepest moat, and the longest wall. (1-3)

Tea for Ten. Anderson, L. (2000) – Tea for Ten explores the numbers from 1 to 10. (baby-preschool)

Telling Time. Older, J. (2000) – Telling Time teaches children about minutes, hours, days, weeks, years, decades and how to tell time.

Ten Black Dots. Crews, D. (1968/1986) – This unique counting books uses simple rhymes and everyday objects to demonstrate what you can do with one, two, or ten black dots. (K-2)

Ten, Nine, Eight. Bang, M. (1983) – Ten, Nine, Eight provides a model for creating and illustrating simple counting books. (baby-preschool)

The Three Bears. Barton, Byron. (1991) – In a version of the traditional story, children can engage in activities to develop the concept of the number 3 as well as comparisons of small, medium, and large. (baby-preschool)

A Three Hat Day. Geringer, L. (1987) – A man dreams about his future wife and finds his true love in a hat shop. (K-3)

Too Many Kangaroo Things to Do! Murphy, S. J. (1996) – Too Many Kangaroo Things to Do examines grouping relationships using 10, 20, 30, 40, and 100. (preschool-3)

Triangles: Shapes in Math, Science and Nature. Ross, C. S. (1994) – For older children, this book explores features of triangles such as angles, triangular numbers, triangular prisms, tetrahedrons, and pyramids. (4-7)

Twelve Snails to One Lizard. Hightower, S. (1997) – Bubba the Bullfrog uses nonstandard units (like snails and lizards) to help Milo Beaver build a dam–shows the importance of using standard units of measure. (K-3)

12 Ways to Get to 11. Merriam, E. (1996) – Students discover strategies for counting and numeration with child-friendly collections of objects–such as 6 peanuts and 5 pieces of popcorn–that add up to 11. (baby-preschool)

Two Ways to Count to Ten. Dee, R. (1988) – This Liberian folktale, counts things in groups. (K-3)

Uno, Dos, Tres; One, Two, Three. Mora, P. (1996) – Uno, Dos, Tres: One, Two, Three counts from 1 to 10 in English and Spanish, with drawings set in Mexican culture. (preschool-2)

Up to Ten and Down Again. Ernst, L. C. (1986) – Up to Ten and Down Again (beautiful illustrations) explores the numbers from 1 to 10. (preschool-K)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Carle, E. (1969) – A hungry little caterpillar eats his way through a large quantity of food until, full at last, he forms a cocoon and goes to sleep. (preschool-3)

What's Smaller than a Pygmy Shrew? Wells, R. E. (1995) – This book is a thought-provoking journey from the mighty small pygmy shrew to microorganisms and molecules. (4-6)