Everyone loves a good story. Especially kids! Did you know that a search on the Amazon website for “math story books” yields over 2000 results! Math storybooks are a great way to present the “cool” side of math. Whether your resident kid is a bouncing off the walls 3-year-old whirlwind or an independence-seeking high schooler, here’s a list of my favorite math storybooks to help build your child’s love of math.
For Curious Pre-Schoolers:
Not just any ordinary counting book!
This colorful collection of rhyming stories helps young children start to make the connections between numbers and place-value. Little ones will love the cartoon animals which are central to each story while they subconsciously build initial arithmetic skills with the numbers from 1-10.
Fun math concepts with a beach theme!
Odd and even numbers, tens and one hundred, all explained using animal feet and a snail. How cute is that for preschoolers? Look out for the googly-eyed snail and the crazy crabs in this simple story set at the beach that shares some not so simple math concepts.
For Energetic Elementary Kids:
Find the magic in mathematics!
An illustrated, story-book style biography of real-life Mathematician Paul Erdos, which starts from when he was a young boy seeing the world with a numerical eye. The book also introduces concepts such as infinity and prime numbers in a light-hearted way. Decorated with mathematical artwork on each page, this book is a lovely way to give children a behind-the-scenes look at the life of one of the most brilliant contemporary mathematicians.
Late night math fun!
Bedtime stories are a routine in kids lives, but this book is a fun way to share bedtime math with your child. Filled with kid-friendly math problems featuring cookie dough, lego and more! Targeted at a variety of ages, questions such as “If an elephant weighs 8,000 pounds, and your car weighs 3,000 pounds, how much more does the elephant weigh?” for little kids, becomes, “A ton is 2,000 pounds. If an elephant weighs 8,000 pounds, how many tons is that?” and then for older kids, “If you have a pet whale that weighs 160 tons, how many 4-ton elephants would you need to math the weight of whale?”.
For Emerging Middle School Mathematicians:
An adventurous Pi primer!
This is a fantasy fairytale story where a boy uses math to save his father. This illustrated book features characters with mathematical names such as Radius, Lady Di of Ameter and of course, Sir Cumference. Woven into the story is a plot line which unravels the meaning of pi. The book is great for children of all ages but is perfect for middle school mathematicians as an introduction to pi.
A perfect Pythagorean presentation!
Another illustrated adventure, but this time using carefully drawn illustrations and a historical storyline to explain the proof and use of Pythagoras’ Theorem and right-angled triangles. Simple to understand visuals are combined with an in-depth story with plenty of cheeky dialogue between the main character, a curious boy journeying from Samos to Alexandria with his father, and those they meet on their way.
For Forward-Looking High Schoolers:
A devilishly good spin on number theory!
A book about the dreams that a 12-year-old boy, Robert, has with the mischievious Number Devil, who uses furry calculators and piles of coconuts to explain the beauty of number theory. For example, the Number Devil uses coconuts to show Robert what triangular numbers are by making triangles on the ground, and he comes up with the first ten triangular numbers: 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 21, 28, 36, 45, and 55, then comes up with the rule for triangular numbers. Cool number concepts such as Fibonacci series and prime numbers are explained through Roberts interactions with his devilish dream companion.
A teen math romance!
Mixing Japanese culture, teen romance, and math, Math Girls 2 follows the day to day lives of a cool trio of girls as they explore number theory, algebra, modular arithmetic, and other fascinating mathematical topics, with the finale being a modern proof of Fermat’s last theorem. Starting off with easy to understand math ideas suitable even for middle schoolers, the math level in this book does get quite complex towards the end, but the strength of the story makes this an inspiring read nonetheless.
Storybooks + Math = Bedtime Learning Fun!
Reading bedtime stories to kids is standard in homes around the world, so why not use some of that precious reading time to share and build up a love of math with your child?
Students on the Thinkster Math program earn points for completing worksheets. These points can be redeemed for either an iTunes gift card or an Amazon voucher which you and your child can use to purchase apps, math story books and much more!
Which math story book will you be buying?