10 Picture Books That Teach Math Concepts

April 12, 2019
Education.com Blog
Caitlin Hardeman

Picture Books About Math feature

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

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

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

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?

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.

Measuring Penny

Measuring Penny
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

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.

Math Attack!

Math Attack!
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

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

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!

About the Author

Caitlin Hardeman is a Learning Designer and the Professional Development Coordinator for Education.com. Prior to this role, Caitlin taught 3rd-6th grades in New York, Texas, Arizona, and Tennessee, and she specializes in English Language Arts. She began her career teaching 6th grade in the Bronx with Teach For America. Caitlin received a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Science in Teaching from Pace University in New York City. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Wilmington School of the Arts in Wilmington, North Carolina. She originally hails from New York, but also identifies as a Texan. After moving around while her husband served in the Army, she is happy to be settled with her family, and she enjoys getting to raise their two young children by the beach.

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