Posted by: Dave Richeson | April 14, 2011

Math books for young children

I have a child in first grade and another who will be in elementary school in a couple years. So I’m on the lookout for good children’s books about mathematics. Below is a collection of books that I’ve read or that have been recommended to me. (I got some of these suggestions from people on Twitter.) I’d really appreciate it if you would add your own suggestions in the comments (if you want to give age-ranges, descriptions, or links, that would be great too). I’ll add more to the list as I find them.

Again, I’d say that the primary focus would be books for kids ages 5-12. Thanks!

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Responses

  1. This list is awesome! Thanks.

  2. I can recommend Kjartan Poskitt’s Murderous Maths series:

    http://www.amazon.com/Kjartan-Poskitt/e/B001HCU8N4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

    They’re very well and humorously written, but as the ‘Maths’ indicates, are UK rather than US based, which may or may not be an issue for you!

  3. My kids all loved “G is for Googol” when they were in the 4-7 range.

    The partner book “Q is for Quark” was also quite good.

  4. I posted my favorites here, and a longer list (less detailed reviews) here. Some of these are great for kids under 5. I so love Quack and Count, but 5 is getting on the old side for that. Some of the Anno books are for younger kids, too.

  5. The How and Why Book of Mathematics. I read it when I was three, in 1960. It’s where I learned what Infinity, Googol, and Googleplex were. I was 3 years old. I didn’t understand what exponents were, but the book listed Googol with all 100 digits. I thought it weird that same number could be represented with 5 symbols. The COOL thing at three was, BIG numbers … LISTED! Aw, what are you going to do? Kids!

    The BEST things your kids have is having YOU as a Dad. The 5 best books for 8-yr-olds to 80, IMO, are in order: 50 Things You Really Should Know About Mathematics, The MaTH bOOK, Mathematics 1001, Euler’s Gem, and The Princeton Companion.

    And guess who wrote one of those?

    Take em fishing, would be my advice. Lots of Math in fishing. And as an added bonus … time with Dad. If Mom comes along too, a plus. :-)

  6. Recommend the Phantom Tollbooth as well, there’s lots of mathematics in it. Nice list!

  7. Daniel very much enjoys The Number Devil. When he was bit younger he loved the Anno book as well, and Can You Count to a Googol? – http://www.albertwhitman.com/content.cfm/bookdetails/Can-You-Count-to-a-Googol

  8. My own children are (almost) grown, but I love Rabbits Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale by Ann McCallum, ages 4-8.

    Great Estimations by Bruce Goldstone, grades 1-4

    This is a book with beautiful photographs that teaches estimating.

    One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi, grades 1-4

    A lovely book that combines morals, math, and Indian culture to illustrate the doubling function.

    The Grapes of Math by Greg Tang, probably 1st-2nd grade is a book of math riddles in rhyme.

    My kids absolutely LOVED these next two and still remember them fondly. They both deal with numbers and counting.
    Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells, pre-school to grade 2

    We made “bunny money” and a pocket in the back of the book to keep it in and my kids loved counting out the money along with the story.
    http://rosemarywells.com/bunny-money.html

    Too Many Eggs, by M. Christina Butler, ages 4-8

    This book is put of print, but I think it’s well worth searching out. There are eggs to punch out and count into mixing bowls along with the story.

    Have fun and thanks for helping me recall some great memories of reading these to/with my sons.

  9. Here’s another goodie oldie, which can easily be purchased from Amazon.com: “The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures” by Malba Tahan

    Here’s the URL: http://tinyurl.com/3g3ur8r

    Have a pleasant reading!


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