If “math books for kids” makes you think of boring classroom textbooks, you’re in for a happy surprise!
There is a whole new genre of math children’s books for grades K-5 that are capturing kids’ hearts and imaginations–just as great stories always have done.
Some of these don’t seem like math books at all. Stories of magic pots or money that grows on trees are so enchanting, kids don’t realize they’re learning.
Others literally have math as the main character: Zero the Hero and The Greedy Triangle are unforgettable math personalities.
And some are quite math-y indeed, made up entirely of math problems or riddles. The most popular ones are so silly, cartoony, and colorful that kids love them just as much as the stories.
So without further ado, here are 52 of the most wonderful math books for kids. Enjoy!
There are many kinds of counting, and so many interesting things to count! These books encourage kids to practice that most basic, and satisfying, math skill.
Teeth, Tails, & Tentacles: Learn to count with alligator teeth, whale barnacles, and octopus tentacles. A gorgeous art book and math exploration. Grades PreK-1
How Many Snails? Part counting book, part seek-and-find. “How many fish? How many fish are red? How many fish are red and have their mouths open?” Grades PreK-2
Leaping Lizards: Learn to count by 5s and 10s with catchy rhymes and colorful, spotted lizards. Grades PreK-2
One Is A Snail, Ten Is A Crab: A Counting By Feet Book: Five is a dog and a snail. Forty is ten crabs…or ten dogs! Guess the foot combos before you turn the page. Grades PreK-3
Number Sense and Place Value
Even and odd, estimating, getting a sense of big numbers…these are the building blocks of math. These are fun math books for kids learning how numbers work.
Even Steven and Odd Todd: Even Steven’s predictable life gets turned topsy-turvy when his wild cousin Odd Todd comes to visit. Grades K-2
Great Estimations: What do 100 gummy bears look like? How about 1,000 paper clips? What’s the best way to guess how many jelly beans are in a jar? Grades 3-5
Betcha: Two kids love to guess how many cars on the street, how many people on the bus. Their game pays off when they enter a contest to win a jelly bean jar. Grades 2-5
A Fair Bear Share: Mama bear will make her famous pie if all the bear kids gather enough berries, seeds, and nuts…but the littlest bear won’t gather her share. Grades 1-3
Zero The Hero: Zero can’t seem to add anything to his friends’ games. He feels like a nobody and thinks he doesn’t count for much, until he makes an amazing discovery. Grades 3-5
Millions, Billions, & Trillions: Understanding Big Numbers: What do a million grains of sugar look like? Fascinating investigations help kids wrap their minds around just how big a million, a billion, and a trillion truly are. Grades 3-5
Addition and Subtraction Books
Strategies, patterns, and real-life connections are all great for helping kids master addition and subtraction. These math picture books reinforce those skills.
12 Ways To Get To 11: Eleven is nine pinecones and two acorns in the forest. Or six peanut shells & five pieces of popcorn at the circus. A counting and addition book. Grades PreK-1
Elevator Magic: A boy and his mom make stops on their way down the elevator from the tenth floor. What button does he need to push to go two floors down? Grades K-2
Mall Mania: The 100th person to enter the mall on Mall Mania day gets a prize. Kids add up how many people enter the mall until they find the lucky prize winner. Grades 3-5
Shark Swimathon: Can sharks on a swim team do 75 laps by the end of the week? All is going well until one of their team is injured. A subtraction story. Grades 2-4
A lot of kids don’t quite understand the concept of multiplication, even after they’ve learned their times tables. These books make multiplication make sense.
Minnie’s Diner: In this crazy, rhyming story, each of Papa McFay’s boys orders twice as much as the brother who came before! (Kids LOVE this book.) Grades K-3
Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream: Amanda Bean counts everything, but discovers that multiplying can help her count even faster. Grades 2-5
Too Many Kangaroo Things To Do: It’s Kangaroo’s birthday, but all his friends are too busy to play. An Australian multiplication mystery. Grades 1-3
Two Of Everything: Mr. Haktak finds a brass pot and discovers that anything that goes in the pot comes out double. A hilarious tale of magic, math and mishaps. Grades PreK-4
Each Orange Had 8 Slices: “On my way to grandma’s I saw 2 fat cows. Each cow had 2 calves. Each calf had 4 skinny legs. How many legs were there in all?” Grades 2-4
One Hundred Hungry Ants: 100 ants march single file to a picnic, but one bossy ant keeps changing things up. A great one for learning about factors and multiples. Grades 2-4
One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale: The people are starving and a greedy raja won’t share, until a clever girl makes a deal Grades 1-5
Division as sharing, remainders as leftovers, splitting things up equally…we use division in real life all the time. These books make division feel fun and easy.
The Doorbell Rang: Mom’s baking cookies, but just as the kids get ready to divvy them up to eat, the doorbell rings! A division drama. Grades K-3
Divide And Ride: Eleven friends visit a carnival and want to sit together, but when everyone’s in their seat there always seems to be someone left over. Grades 2-4
A Remainder Of One: When the bug squadron marches in neat rows of 2, 3, and 4, the 25th bug finds himself left out–till he finds a way to be part of the troop. Grades K-2
The Great Divide: A Mathematical Marathon: Eighty cross-country racers explode from the starting gate, but who will cross the finish line? Grades 1-4
Fraction books about fair sharing help kids understand the connection to division, and even multiplication. Each of these books explores fractions in a slightly different way.
Rabbit and Hare Divide An Apple: Two friends try to share an apple, but how to make things fair when both pieces break into different sizes? Grades K-2
The Lion’s Share: A Tale of Halving Cake and Eating It Too: All the animals are invited to the lion’s feast, but things get crazy when some take more than their share. Grades 2-5
The Wishing Club: A Story About Fractions: There’s a puzzle to solve in this sweet story about an inquisitive bunch of kids and a very unusual wishing star. Grades 3-5
Time & Measurement Books
Some math skills are best learned in real life, not in a textbook. These imaginative math books for kids are the perfect lead in to real-world investigations.
Spaghetti and Meatballs For All: Mr. and Mrs. Comfort are hosting a dinner party. When the guests start moving chairs around, will they still all fit? A perimeter story. Grades 3-5
Pigs On A Blanket: Fun With Math and Time: Mr. and Mrs. Pig and their piglets just want to get cool at the beach–but where in the world did the time go? Grades 2-5
Measuring Penny: How many ways can you measure Penny the dog? A story that will inspire kids to measure their own pets in as many ways as possible. Grades 2-5
The Librarian Who Measured The Earth: The story of how Eratosthenes, a brilliant mathematician, used shadows to work out the circumference of the earth. Grades 3-6
Kids love to touch, explore, and learn about their world. These geometry books invite them to investigate shape and design as they learn how their world works.
When A Line Bends, A Shape Begins: Part geometry book, part seek-and-find, this book is a fun, rhyming romp that gets kids looking for shapes all around them. Grades PreK-3
Which One Doesn’t Belong?: Four shapes: which one doesn’t belong? The wonderful part is that there is no wrong answer! Grades 2-5
Three Pigs, One Wolf, And Seven Magic Shapes: This clever retelling with tangram illustrations invites kids to make their own tangram pictures as they read. Grades K-4
The Warlord’s Puzzle: When a precious tile crashes into pieces, a terrified artist proposes a contest to see who can put it back together. A story about tangrams. Grades 2-5
The Greedy Triangle: A bored triangle wishes for more sides and a more exciting life. He gets his wish, but things don’t turn out quite as he expected. Grades PreK-5
Children’s Books About Money
Money stories are always popular, and these are some of the best. All of them help kids master that all-important skill: counting money.
Bunny Money: Max and his big sister go shopping for a birthday present for grandma, but with all Max’s mishaps, will they have any left over for a birthday gift? Grades PreK-2
The Penny Pot: It’s 50 cents to get your face painted, but Jessie only has 39 cents left. Kids count the change in a penny pot and watch her get closer to her goal. Grades 2-4
The Coin Counting Book: “Let’s count our five pennies just one more time. If we add 5 more pennies, we’ll have…” A rhyming tale that captivates all ages. Grades K-4
Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday: The hilarious misadventures of Alexander, who was rich last Sunday when his grandparents gave him a dollar… Grades 1-4
Once Upon A Dime: Money doesn’t grow on trees…or does it?
Books With Fun Math Problems
These math books for kids pull off an amazing feat: they make kids WANT to solve math problems! Here are the best books of math poems, puzzles, rhymes and riddles.
Bedtime Math: Hilarious math problems about underwear, candy, passing gas, and all the stuff kids love. Awesome cartoony illustrations. Grades PreK-4
The Grapes of Math: Rhyming riddles invite kids to count and calculate the pictures on the page. Kids learn important math strategies while they play. Grades 3-5
Edgar Allen Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers In Classic Poems: “When an elephant sat down to order – A half of a third of a quarter – Of an 80-foot bun – And a frankfurter, son – Was it longer than 3 feet or shorter?” Grades 3-6
Math & Magic In Wonderland: Two number-loving girls are swept up in a mad, magical adventure of logic riddles and math puzzles. Grades 4-6
Perfectly Perilous Math: 24 Death-Defying Challenges for Young Mathematicians: Nothing like putting your life in danger to make math more fun. Grades 4-8
More Great Math Books For Kids
And finally…a few of my favorite math books for kids that are in a category of their own. These are beautiful, fun books that I (and my kids) never get tired of reading.
Swirl By Swirl: Gorgeous illustrations, simple and elegant text, this book is a wonder-filled math exploration of spirals in nature. Grades PreK-2
Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci: A masterful look at Fibonacci numbers, golden spirals, and the life of an amazing mathematician. One of my all-time favorites! Grades K-5
Go Figure: A Totally Cool Book About Numbers: Puzzles, brain teasers, vibrant photos and very cool math infobits make this book really hard to put down. Grades 3-6
The Dot And The Line: A Romance In Lower Mathematics: Once there was a sensible straight line who was hopelessly in love with a dot. A tale of love, heartache, and geometry (by the author of The Phantom Toolbooth). Grades 3-6
Have I missed a math story that you absolutely love? Leave a comment and tell us your favorite math books for kids!
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