Math Picture Books Worth Owning

 

We just finished our math unit and we used nearly all the math books below during our six week unit. The exceptions were the reference books at the bottom of this list.

Here’s how this list can be helpful to you. I’ve included the name of the book with a picture along with a brief description, the grade level, math level and whether the book is worth owning or borrowing.  I listed the math level at about one year above  what is typically taught school to ensure the student is familiar with the math; however, I also list the grade level at which the student could either read the book on his own or listen to it read and understand the math even without it being formally taught.

Worth owning or borrowing? My method of choosing is the following: If the book is a story that’s well written and nicely illustrated and I expect to read it over and over again to my kids, then I think it’s worth owning. If it’s a book I’ll need for a math unit, it’s easier to own it than to borrow it. But here’s the bottom line: my kids liked different books than I did! So, while I thought borrowing the Sir Cumference series was fine, my nine-year reads them all the time, so those might be better owned than borrowed. Use your own method for owning or borrowing, and when in doubt, try it out. If you love it, buy it!

 

If you’d rather have a printable list, click here.

 

Math Chapter Books

 

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7X9= Trouble! Claudia Mills

Math chapter book

Story about a boy who has to learn the times table

Reading/math level 3rd grade

Worth checking out

 

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Fractions=Trouble! Claudia Mills

Math chapter book

Story about a boy who is having a hard time learning his fractions and needs a tutor

Reading 3rd grade

Worth checking out

 

Geometry Books

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The Greedy Triangle By Marilyn Burns

Math picture/story book

Covers geometric shapes from triangles to polygons

Inventive story about a triangle that chances shape (has deeper meanings and lessons)

Computer animated

Math level 2nd and up

Grade level preschool and up

Worth checking out

 

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Mummy Math By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Covers geometry, shapes, faces, & edges

Fun ‘mystery’ story set in Egypt in a pyramid

Math level 4th and up

Grade level 2nd and up

Worth checking out

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What’s your Angle Pythagoras? By Julie Ellis

Math picture/story book

Covers 3, 4, 5 triangle, the Pythagorean theory and area

Historical however, Pythagoras wasn’t a child when he discovered the 3, 4, 5 triangle or the Pythagorean method

Math level 7th and up

Grade level 3rd  and up

Worth checking out

 

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Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Covers area of a circle

Math level 7th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

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Sir Cumference and the First Round Table By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Geometry: names the shapes and explains how many sides on each shape

Math level 3rd  and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

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Sir Cumerence and the Great Knight of Angleland By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Covers angles, obtuse, acute and right angles

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

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Sir Cumference and Isle of Immeter By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Covers shapes, edges and faces

Math level 7th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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String, Straightedge, and Shadow By Julia E. Diggins

Chapter book for 7th grade reading level

History of geometry from the dawn of time through ancient Greece

Learn about Thales, Pythagoras and Eratosthenes

Nice story format with chapters

Great inspiration for geometry activities and geometry demonstrations

Math level 5th and up

Worth owning

 

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Why Pi? By Johnny Ball

Math picture/reference books

Each page has information related to the math concept being explained

Filled with computer illustrations and photos

Covers math concepts related to geometry, measuring time, measurement, sound, pressure, light, electricity, temperature and more Introduces mathematicians where relevant

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 5th and up

Worth checking out or owning as a reference book

 

 

Books about Tangrams & Tessellations

 

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Grandfather Tang’s Story By Ann Tompert

Math picture/story book

Covers tangrams in a delightfully written story

Great potential for interactive activities if you have tangrams (you can follow along in the story and make the different shapes)

Nicely illustrated

Math level 4th and up

Grade level 2nd and up

Worth checking out

 

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The Warlord’s Puzzle By Virginia Pilegard

Math picture/story book

Covers tangrams in a plot driven story set in China hundreds of years ago

Well written compelling story, nicely illustrated

Math level 4th and up

Grade level 2nd and up

Worth checking out

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Toads and Tessellations By Sharon Morrisette

Math picture/story book

Covers tessellations and how to arrange shapes so that the most shapes will fit on a particular size

Nicely illustrated, includes magic

Math level 4th and up

Grade level 2nd and up

Worth checking out

 

Math Picture Books that Complement a History Unit

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What’s your Angle Pythagoras? By Julie Ellis

Math picture/story book

Covers 3, 4, 5 triangle, the Pythagorean theory and area

Historical however, Pythagoras wasn’t a child when he discovered the 3, 4, 5 triangle or the Pythagorean method

Math level 7th and up

Grade level 3rd  and up

Worth checking out

 

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The History of Counting By Denise Schmandt-Besserat

Math story/picture book

Historically goes through the different methods of counting and the cultures that used them

Great addition to an ancient civilization unit

Very informative

Written in a story like way, but it’s not a story in that there are no characters

Math level 3rd and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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The Librarian Who Measure The Earth By Kathryn Lasky

Math picture biography book

Story of Eratosthenes and how he measured the circumference of the earth

Covers the geometry used in measuring the earth

Wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated

Great potential for activities (namely measuring the earth)

Mix of simple and complex math

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth owning

 

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Pythagoras and the Ratios By Julie Ellis

Math picture/story book

Covers ratios and music

Historical however, Pythagoras wasn’t a child when he discovered the relationship between length and notes

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 3rd  and up

Worth checking out

 

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Roman Numerals I to MM By Arthur Geisert

Math picture book

Teaches the Roman numerals through pictures of farm animals

Unique and engaging approach

Nice addition to an ancient Roman unit

Opportunity for interaction on each page by counting the animals to see what Roman numeral it is

Inadvertently teaches addition and subtraction

Math level 4th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Measure the Earth Eratosthenes and his Celestial Geometry

Chapter book for 6th grade and up

Can be read aloud to younger students

Great complement to a history unit on ancient Greece

Covers history and geography of ancient Greece

Story of Eratosthenes and how he measured the earth

Grade/math level 6th and up

Worth checking out

 

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Circumference Eratosthenes and the Ancient Quest to Measure the Globe

High school level book about the ancient mathematicians and the quest to measure the circumference of the earth

Math/grade level high school and up

Worth checking out

 

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The Greatest Mathematicians Archimedes and his Eureka! Moment

Chapter book for 6th grade and up

Biography of Archimedes

Can accompany a unit on ancient Greece

Math/grade level 6th an up

Worth checking out

 

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Archimedes and the Door of Science

Story of Archimedes and his discoveries written in an easy to read and understand format

Can accompany a unit on ancient Greece

Math/grade level 4th and up

Worth checking out

Scale & Proportion

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Beanstalk By Ann McCallum

Math story/picture book

Story about scale, simple math that you can follow to scale up and scale down

Also uses shadow and proportion

Math level 4th and up

Grade level 2nd and up

Worth checking out

 

Measurement

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Length By Henry Pluckrose

Math picture book

Explains the difference between length and height

Photos are dated, but information is simple and easy to understand

Math level 2nd and up

Grade level preschool

Worth checking out

 

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Inch by Inch By Leo Lionni

Math story/picture book

Delightful story about measurement told by way of an inchworm

Beautifully illustrated, cute story

Math level preschool and up

Grade level preschool and up

Worth owning

 

Fractions Picture Books

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Fraction Fun By David Adler

Math picture book

Covers fractions, terminology, simple division of a whole into 2,3, or more parts

Great potential for activity

Includes interactive activities at the end of the book

Math level 4th and up

Grade level 1st  and up

Worth checking out

 

General Math

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Mesmerizing Math By Jonathan Litton

Interactive math book

Covers all areas of math in an illustrated format with tabs and flaps that are moveable

Fun to read cover to cover as an introduction or review of math concepts

Great potential for activities

Mix of simple and complex math written for the elementary student

Math level 3rd and up

Grade level 2nd  and up

Worth checking out or owning

 

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Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares By Frank Murphy

Math picture/story book

Historical and biographical

Covers ‘magic squares’ that add up to the same number

Math level 3rd and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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High Noon By Scott Sundby

Math picture/story book

Covers scale and how to scale up and scale down (uses graph paper in some illustrations)

Inventive story, nicely illustrated, orignal

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 2nd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Rooster’s Off to See the World By Eric Carle

Math picture/story book

Iconic illustrations and delightful story

Math is all about simple counting up and down

Math level preschool and up

Grade level preschool and up

Worth owning

 

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A Place for Zero By Angeline LoPresti

Math picture/story book

Simple addition and multiplication are the side story to the main story of what zero is for

Covers place value, function of zero, and simple addition and multiplication

Math level 3rd and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Once Upon a Dime By Nancy Kelly Allen

Math picture/story book

Math with money

Delightful story, nicely illustrated, mentally interactive story (you guess what will happen next)

Math level 3rd and up

Grade level 1st and up

Worth checking out

 

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Great Estimations By Bruce Goldstone

Math picture book

Multiplication of fractions and whole numbers

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Equal Shmequal By Virginia Kroll

Math picture/story book

Covers balance and equality by means of weight (and weight equals strength in this story)

Delightful story that’s entertaining for all ages but especially the youngsters

Math level preschool and up

Grade level preschool and up

Worth checking out/having

 

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Alice in Pastaland By Alexandra Wright

Math picture/story book

Story based on Alice in Wonderland, simple math and sequence sprinkled throughout the story.

Mentions shapes, magic squares, multiplication, fractions and more

Math level 4th and up

Grade level 2nd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Bedtime Math The Truth Comes Out By Laura Overdeck

Math book with informative stories on each page

Introduces math problems by giving information not related to math like geography, anatomy, etc.

Math questions for three levels, but I found that the difficulty level varied greatly from page to page within one level

Math level preschool to 4th grade

Grade level preschool and up

Worth checking out

 

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Bedtime Math A Fun Excuse to Stay up Late By Laura Overdeck

Math book with informative stories on each page

Introduces math problems by giving information not related to math like geography, anatomy, etc.

Math questions for three levels, but I found that the difficulty level varied greatly from page to page within one level

Math level preschool to 4th grade

Grade level preschool and up

Worth checking out

 

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Bedtime Math This Time It’s Personal By Laura Overdeck

Math book with informative stories on each page

Introduces math problems by giving information not related to math like geography, anatomy, etc.

Math questions for three levels, but I found that the difficulty level varied greatly from page to page within one level

Math level preschool to 4th grade

Grade level preschool and up

Worth checking out

 

Biographies of Mathematicians

 

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The Librarian Who Measure The Earth By Kathryn Lasky

Math picture biography book

Story of Eratosthenes and how he measured the circumference of the earth

Covers the geometry used in measuring the earth

Wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated

Great potential for activities (namely measuring the earth)

Mix of simple and complex math

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth owning

 

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On a Beam of Light By Jennifer Berne

Picture biography book

Biography of Albert Einstein written for the youngster

Immensely enjoyable, beautifully written & illustrated, nice quality of paper

Less about math and more about Albert as a person

Math level preschool and up

Grade level preschool and up

Worth owning

 

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The Boy Who Loved Math By Deborah Heiligman

Picture biography book

Wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated

Great biography about Paul Erdos

Enjoyable for all ages, includes math concepts as part of the story (prime numbers, negative numbers, etc.)

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth owning

 

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Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares By Frank Murphy

Math picture/story book

Historical and biographical

Covers ‘magic squares’ that add up to the same number

Math level 3rd and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

Fibonacci

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The Rabbit Problem By Emily Gravett

Interactive picture book

Fibonacci sequence

No story, just interactive pages oriented as a calendar so it can be hung as a calendar and read that way, too

Beautifully illustrated, delightful to look through

Mix of simple and complex math

Math level 3rd and up

Grade level preschool and up

Worth checking out

 

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Rabbits Rabbits Everywhere By Ann McCallum

Math picture/story book

Math patterns, Fibonacci sequence

Fun tale for youngsters

Math level 3rd and up

Grade level 2nd and up

Worth checking out

 

Multiplication and Division

 

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A Remainder of One By Elinore Pinczes

Math picture/story book

Covers division with remainders

Delightful story, uniquely illustrated

Very simple, yet instructional

Covers only one concept and it does it well

Math level 3rd and up

Grade level 1st and up

Worth checking out

 

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The Multiplying Menace Divides By Pam Calvert

Math picture/story book

Division of fractions and whole numbers

Math level 5th and up

Worth checking out

 

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Multiplying Menace The Revenge of Rumplestiltskin By Pam Calvert

Math picture/stroy book

Multiplication of fractions and whole numbers

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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The Grapes of Math By Greg Tang

Math picture book

Multiplication of fractions and whole numbers

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Math for all Seasons By Greg Tang

Math poems with questions based on illustrations

Very interactive

Covers addition, multiplication and patterns

Math level 3rd and up

Grade level 1st and up

Worth checking out

 

 

Symmetry

 

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Seeing Symmetry By Loreen Leedy

Math picture book

Covers all types of symmetry

Informative yet simple, includes questions

Computer animation

Great potential for activities stemming from this book

Math level 3rd  and up

Grade level 1st and up

Worth checking out

 

Probability

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A Very Improbable Story By Edward Einhorn

Math picture/story book

Covers probability in the form of a delightful story

Nice illustrations

Great potential for activities

Math level 4th and up

Grade level 2nd and up

Worth checking out

 

 

Addition and Subtraction

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The Action of Subtraction By Brian Cleary

Math picture book

Simple subtraction in a fun and silly poetic form

Covers terminology in a whimsical way

Math level 1st and up

Grade level 1st and up

Worth checking out

 

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Math Fables By Greg Tang

Math picture book

Math presented in poems

Delightful story, computer animations

Math level 1st and up

Grade level 1st and up

Worth checking out

 

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Adding and Subtracting Puzzles By Karen Bryant-Mole

Reference picture book

Covers many areas of math in a delightful way: stories introduce the math, illustrations accompany each section and simple math problems are presented with each section

Helpful to cover each section on its own rather than reading this book as a picture book

Math level 4th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! By Marilyn Burns

Math picture/story book

Shapes and sides with addition/multiplication

A bit complicated or fast paced to fully appreciate the math, worth reading several times to understand/do the math

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Sold! A Mothematics Adventure By Nathan Zimelman

Math picture/story book

Nicely illustrated, not much math, simple addition and multiplication

Math level 2nd  and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Math for all Seasons By Greg Tang

Math poems with questions based on illustrations

Very interactive

Covers addition, multiplication and patterns

Math level 3rd and up

Grade level 1st and up

Worth checking out

 

Sir Cumference Series

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Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Covers area of a circle

Math level 7th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Sir Cumference and the First Round Table By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Geometry: names the shapes and explains how many sides on each shape

Math level 3rd  and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Sir Cumerence and the Great Knight of Angleland By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Covers angles, obtuse, acute and right angles

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Sir Cumference and Isle of Immeter By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Covers shapes, edges and faces

Math level 7th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

 

 

 

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Sir Cumference and All the King’s Tens By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Covers grouping numbers into ones, tens, hundreds and thousands, explains place value

Math level 3rd  and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Sir Cumference and the Viking’s Map By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Covers graphing and plotting points on a graph

Math level 6th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

 

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Sir Cumference and Off-the-Charts Dessert By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Covers charts and graphs and the difference between them

Math level 5th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

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Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi By Cindy Neuschwander

Math picture/story book

Covers geometry concepts of radius, pi and circumference and relationship between the radius and circumference

Math level 7th and up

Grade level 3rd and up

Worth checking out

 

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Round Table Geometry Sir Cumference Classroom Activities By Don Robb

Reproducible workbook

Great accompaniment to the Sir Cumference series

Math level 4th and up

Worth having if you are using the Sir Cumference books as part of your math curriculum

 

 Math ‘text’ Books

(books with chapter, but not stories, includes math problems)

 

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Math Smart Junior By Marcia Lerner

Math book in a story format that follows three kids on their math adventures

Math problems are presented naturally throughout the book as a natural result of life

Simple everyday math explored and explained through a delightful narrative

Creative and inventive

Additional questions at the end of each chapter

Math level 5th and up

Worth checking out

 

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Arithmetricks By Edward H. Julius

Learn math tricks in a story like way.

Each chapter introduces a problem, shows the long way to solve the problem, shows the short cut or ‘arithmetrick’, has an example on how to use the trick and has several questions (answers in the back)

Tricks are easy to learn but also easy to forget. We added more questions and practiced each ‘trick’ for a week, but still after a year, we only remember a few. Worth reviewing often. Great tricks.

Math level 5th and up

Worth owning if you’ll use it as part of your curriculum, worth borrowing as a novelty

 

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Math Wizardry for Kids By Margaret Kenda and Phyllis S. Williams

Resource/ Reference book

Each ‘chapter’ has an intro about a paragraph long that is enjoyable to read and informative that is followed by a math activity.

Very interactive book that covers a wide variety of math concepts

Covers basic math to geometry and algebra at a basic level

Great potential for activities

Math level 4th and up

Worth owning

 

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Family Math By Jean Kerr Stenmark, Virginia Thompson, Ruth Cossey

Math book to be read and worked on with kids

Great potential for activities

Math problems and activities

Math level 2nd grade and up

 

 

Resource/Reference Books

 

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Teaching Mathematics in Rudolf Steiner Schools for Classes  I-VIII By Ron Jarman

Resource/reference book

Great resource for teachers/homeschoolers

Filled with many examples and explanations

Math level-all

Worth owning if using a Waldorf curriculum

 

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Algebra the x and y of everyday math By Michael Willers

Resource/Reference book

Covers algebraic concepts with easy step by step instruction

Stories and biographies of great mathematicians throughout book

Learn about Euclid, Plato, Eratosthenes,  Pythagoras, Descartes, Fibonacci and more.

Math level 7th and up (stories of mathematician 5th grade and up)

Worth owning

 

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Student Calculator Math Books

Resource/Reference book

Teaches techniques on how to use a scientific calculator

Table of contents include: basic keys to your calculator, conversions, home management, algebra, finance, trigonometry, probability & statistics, chemistry and puzzles.

Math level 7th and up

Worth owning, if you need to learn how to use a scientific calculator, you won’t have enough time to learn the techniques in this book in 3 weeks.

 

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The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Math

Resource/Reference book

Covers all areas of math from the basic operations to geometry and algebra

Math level 5th and up

Worth owning

 

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Coordinate Graphing by Teacher Created Resources

Reproducible workbook

Teaching graphing by using other math skills to get the coordinates

Covers integers, algebra, fractions, geometry, area & measurement, and more

Math level 6th and up

Worth owning

 

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14 thoughts on “Math Picture Books Worth Owning

  1. Wow, Hana! Love your post. Very thorough and a great set of books to keep on shelves.. I have a few already. I realized though that some (like the fraction trouble or the 7×9 trouble) my kids were done with after the first read.. Not sure if they understood the concepts being explained but they were not willing to go back to it.. So like you said, try it out and see.

    In all honesty, I realized I enjoy the cleverness and illustrations and stories in the books way more than kids because I get it!! But that’s homeschooling journey, right?? Sometimes I’m enjoying our topics way more than the kids! And they are just joining us for the ride!

    1. Thank you, Mudassarah! I had my kids mark all their favorites, and seeing what they each liked was surprising yet informative; I’ll post their reviews, too. Turns out we all like different books! Bottom line is that if I have to read a story over and over again to my kids, there has to be some redeeming quality about the book, i.e. illustrations, story line, content. So like you, I think I get the cleverness and content in a math-inspired story, unlike my kids who are more interested in the story line and illustrations and find the math content too difficult (speaking about the Sir Cumference series in particular). I think the winners are books that focus on only one simple concept and repeat it throughout the whole book. The titles that come to mind are Length, A Remainder of One, Equal Smequal, Seeing Symmetry, Great Estimations and Inch by Inch.

  2. This was awesome, thank you! I especially like the review of the Math dictionary because that’s been in my shopping cart for a few days and jotted down a few others that will supplement our current math nicely in shā’ Allāh 🙂 jazak Allahu khayran! Do you have recommendations for a general recommended basic references to have.. for all subjects: history, science, nature study, math, arabic, etc. etc.

    1. Thanks Angie! You’ll love the math reference book. It’s great to have. I don’t have a list of reference books for all subjects…yet. As I go through each unit study, I’ll be sure to add videos and blog posts that show what books, kits, games and activities we use. So far I have them for math and Ancient Rome. Next up is Ancient Egypt.
      Math unit study:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-_sZH657xQ
      Ancient Rome unity study:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PHVIVDBgSc

  3. Thank you so much for this post!! I watched the video with all the math books and thought: “oh my, how am I going to buy all these books! I’ve already spent all my funding and they all look soooo good!” I have 5 children between 1 & 8, so they are all at different levels, therefore your feedback regarding grade/age level is much appreciated :). This was a very helpful post. Now I know what books I should focus on buying and the others I will check for at the library. I’m sure you know as homeschoolers, it’s easy to go out on a limb and buy everything…only to realize it wasn’t completely worth it. I’m a little disappointed to see that String, Straightedge, and Shadow By Julia E. Diggins is no where to be found in Canada. That looks like a good one that I’ll have to try my best to track down!

    1. Tasha! Thank you! I’m so glad this post/video was helpful. It’s certainly more affordable to get these books at the library, and if you can and you don’t incur a small debt in late fees 😉 then I’d recommend to anyone to get them from the library first. Next try the library bookstore and other discount stores and slowly build up a good supply of the books you want. The problem I encountered is that now that I’m on my second and third passes through these lessons, its abundantly easier to own these books rather than borrow them, Plus I forget what was good for particular units. So, since joining a charter school, I’ve been able to slowly accumulate the books I need for each unit and have them when I need them. It’s frustrating for me if a book hasn’t come in to my library when I need for a unit or if I plan ahead and get in time, but can’t keep it long enough to span the unit. With your oldest still kind of young, you can start collecting now 🙂 I’m sorry to hear String, Straightedge and Shadow isn’t available in Canada. I did see it on Amazon here but nowhere else. I haven’t found anything similar to it yet.

  4. Hi Hana!! I am just starting out doing main block or unit studies and I love the list of books and the videos you have for all your unit studies. They are such a huge help!! Is there anyway you could do a video on “Teaching Mathematics in Rudolf Steiner Schools for Classes I-VIII” – By Ron Jarman? I am looking into buying it but it is very pricey and before I take the plunge I wanted to see what was all in it. I’ve searched around and I can’t find anything to see inside for the content . Thanks so much for any help! 🙂

  5. Super grateful for you taking the time to document all of this for our use! I’m so excited to add your suggestions to our library and LOVE your YouTube interaction as well! You’re an amazing woman and I imagine a REALLY fun teacher Hana! Very inspired by you! ?

    1. Awe thank you Bethany! I hope you enjoy the books I’ve recommended and that they make good additions to your homeschool library.

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