Adults often ask kids what their favorite subject is, and once we get past the responses of “lunch” and “recess,” we tend to see a trend between two major subjects: math or reading.
Then come the questions:
- How do I get the math lover to feel excited about reading?
- How do I get the reading lover to feel excited about math?
One way is to use picture books to teach math concepts – it’s the best of both (reading and math) worlds. Great picture books about math engage readers, foster creativity and teach important concepts. Many authors have caught on to this idea, so the amount of math-focused picture books is ever-increasing.
See our 10 recommendations for picture books that will teach, review, and reinforce math concepts in the classroom and at home.
Uno, Dos, Tres: One Two Three
By Pat Mora
This bilingual counting book uses charming illustrations that are based on Mexican culture. This beautiful book provides opportunities for identifying numbers and counting items.
The Mission of Addition
By Brian Cleary
A definition of addition is followed by pages of fun cartoon illustrations and word problems that promote discussion and understanding of this foundational math concept.
The Action of Subtraction
By Brian Cleary
This book tells what subtraction is and then provides examples in fun, rhyming stories. The best part is that this book’s silliness will engage those reluctant math learners.
What Time Is It, Mr. Crocodile?
By Judy Sierra
This silly story features a hungry crocodile who has created a schedule for his meals. Each illustration includes a clock, so it’s great for telling time on a clock.
By Loreen Leedy
This cute book is about standard and nonstandard units of measurement. Penny has an assignment about measuring an object in different ways, so she enlists her dog to come along on the measurement journey.
Sir Cumference and the Isle of Immeter
By Cindy Neuschwander
This medieval geometry story focuses on perimeter and area. Be sure to check out the rest of the Sir Cumference series for more geometry-themed books that make math fun.
By Joan Horton
Kids can relate to the main character’s overwhelming stress about the multiplication tables. The easy rhymes in this book will engage your learner, all the while giving them a little multiplication boost.
The Multiplying Menace Divides
By Pam Calvert
This book is great because it has an engaging storyline and it teaches about division, which can be a scary topic for those who aren’t math lovers. Added bonuses include the beautiful illustrations and the funny story.
The Grapes of Math
By Greg Tang
Use this fun, rhyming book to get your kids thinking outside the box when it comes to problem solving. Challenge their brains with fun riddles and arithmetic puzzles.
This list highlights just ten of the many wonderful math picture books that are out there. I encourage you to continue giving your learners opportunities to make these powerful connections between reading and math. And then enjoy watching your young mathematicians blossom!
By Caitlin Hardeman, former third through sixth grade teacher specializing in English Language Arts.