The ULTIMATE GUIDE to the BEST math books for kids in primary grades, K-2. Includes a FREE printable book guide you can download and use.
4 Reasons to Use Children’s Books to Teach Math
1. Math Books for Kids Makes Learning Fun & Interesting
I love children’s literature. Teachers love books, and so do children. Stories bring new experiences to life. Books about math can have that same effect on us. Books can increase engagement and build fluency with math concepts. Children are usually more focused on math and what they are learning when the story being read is interesting. Dull math topics can be spiced up with a good book. Books make math fun by making it real for kids. When we read stories that children connect with, their interest grows. If they see others having fun solving math problems or going on math adventures, they will want to participate too.
2. Math Books for Kids Help Teachers Teach Math
Books are another vital math tool for teachers to use during lessons. Math manipulatives are an absolute must in creating engaged children exploring and learning about math, but children’s literature has a place as well. Books provide new examples and ways of explaining math concepts. The right book has the power to help a teacher present something in a different, unique way. Books help us be better teachers by doing some of the teachings for us. They can help us bring meaning to abstract concepts.
3. Math Books for Kids Connect Math to the REAL World
Books can connect math concepts to the world around us. A valuable book about math will build connections between what happens in our daily lives. They present story problems similar to what we have or will experience and encourage us to think of ways to solve them. Books help us see how math occurs every day and all around us. They guide us to know the importance of math in our understanding of the world.
4. Math Books for Kids Build Math AND Literacy Skills
Incorporating appropriate literature into the lives of children is essential for building literacy skills. Adding books to math lessons helps build those literacy skills during more parts of the school day. Integrating subjects helps make good use of time. Reading literature during math blocks also shows children that themes are interrelated and important. Connecting different subjects help children learn in new ways. This is also an opportunity to expose children to new kinds of literature: literature about math. Reading books to children during math helps build concentration and listening skills. Those are good work habits for children to have during math lessons.
How-To Integrate Math Books for Kids
Books make great introductions to lessons. Read a book that ties into the math concept you are teaching that day. Books can encourage discussions and math chats. They can lead to other learning and discoveries, as well. Books make great warm-ups to a math lesson.
Books can also be used as the math lesson as well. There could be a math problem presented in the story that could be solved as a class. Students could create their math problems that connect to the events in a story. Teachers benefit from this extra math “tool” to teach hard concepts. Books can provide those hard to explain examples and scenarios that are required.
Books are useful in reinforcing a math concept taught. Math stories can be read at different times on different days to extend the learning that occurred during a math lesson. This review helps students strengthen and broaden their understanding. Remind students of what they learned when stories are revealed.
The Best Math Books for Kids in Primary
Integrating children’s literature into your math lessons is simple enough but requires a bit of planning. I suggest getting the books you have collected to teach math organized together by math concepts. This makes selecting and grabbing a book quick and straightforward. You can grab a FREE printable guide of the best math books for kids in primary below.
I have compiled a list of what I believe to be the best books for teaching math in primary grades available at this time. I created the list after researching the various math concepts taught in primary and books that helped explain those concepts in ways appropriate for younger children.
The books are available on Amazon (affiliate links) to make selecting and building your math library easy and affordable. I suggest checking your school and community libraries for the books listed before purchasing. I also encourage your school to purchase a set that primary teachers could share. Happy math reading!
Books for Teaching Numbers
- I Spy Numbers by Jean Marzollo
- 1,2,3 Peas by Keith Baker
- Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 by Bill Martin Jr.
- Splash! by Ann Jonas (counting)
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (counting)
- How Do Dinosaurs Count to 10? by Jane Yolen
- Number Everywhere by Elliot Kaufman
- 10 Black Dots by Donald Crews
- How Many Bugs in a Box? by David Carter
- How Many Snails? by Paul Giganti, Jr.
- Ten Sly Piranhas by William Wise
- 12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve Merriam
- None the Number by Oliver Jeffers
- Zero the Hero by Joan Holub
- More or Less by Stuart Murphy
- Tally O’Mally by Stuart Murphy
- One Odd Day by Doris Fisher
- My Even Day by Doris Fisher
- Even Steven and Odd Todd by Kathryn Cristaldi
- Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young (ordinal numbers)
- 100 Hungry Ants by Elinor Pinczes
- Curious George Learns to Count From 1 to 100 by H.A. Rey
- 100 Days of School by Trudy Harris
- How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara (estimation)
- One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab by April Sayre (skip counting)
- How Many Feet in the Bed? by Diane Hamm (skip counting)
- 98, 99, 100! Ready or Not, Here I Come! by Teddy Slater (counting)
- Centipede’s 100 Shoes by Tony Ross
- Place Value by David Adler
- What’s the Place Value by Shirley Duke
Books for Teaching Patterning & Sorting
- Pattern Fish by Trudy Harris
- Pattern by Henry Pluckrose
- Patterns! by National Geographic Kids
- I See a Pattern Here by Bruce Goldstone
- A-B-A-B-A A Book of Pattern Play by Brian Cleary
- Teddy bear Patterns by Barbara McGrath
- Bees, Snails, and Peacock Tails by Betsy Franco (patterns)
- Growing Patterns by Sarah Campbell
- Animal Patterns by Nathan Olson
- Busy Bugs: A Book About Patterns by Jayne Harvey
- Sort It Out! by Barbara Mariconda
- Sorting by Henry Pluckrose
- Sorting at the Market by Tracey Steffora
- Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop by Stuart Murphy (sorting)
Books for Teaching Measurement & Time
- Length by Henry Pluckrose
- Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni
- The Best Bug Parade by Stuart Murphy (size)
- Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy
- Is It Larger? Is It Smaller? by Tana Hoban
- Super Sandcastle Saturday by Stuart Murphy (size)
- Actual Size by Steve Jenkins
- Size by Henry Pluckrose
- Weight by Henry Pluckrose
- Just a Little Bit by Ann Tompert (weight)
- Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen (weight)
- Me and the Measure of Things by Joan Sweeney
- Me Counting Time by Joan Sweeney
- It’s About Time by Stuart Murphy
- What Time is it, Mr. Crocodile? by Judy Sierra
- Telling Time by Jules Older
- The Clock Struck One by Trudy Harris
- 10 Minutes Until Bedtime by Peggy Rathmann
- Game Time by Stuart Murphy (time)
- Telling Time with Big Momma Cat by Barry Moser
Books for Teaching Addition & Subtraction
- Equal Shmequal by Virginia Kroll
- The Action of Subtraction by Brian Cleary
- The Mission of Addition by Brian Cleary
- If You Were a Plus Sign by Trisha Shaskan
- If You Were a Minus Sign by Trisha Shaskan
- Mission Addition by Loreen Leedy
- Subtraction Action by Loreen Leedy
- Domino Addition by Lynette Long
- Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
- Monster Musical Chairs by Stuart Murphy
- Ten For Me by Barbara Mariconda
- Elevator Magic by Stuart Murphy
- Quack & Count by Keith Baker
- Monster Math Picnic by Grace Maccaronne
Books for Teaching Geometry & Fractions
- The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns
- Shapes! by National Geographic Kids
- When a Line Bends…A Shape Begins by Rhonda Greene
- Shapes That Roll by Karen Nagel
- Go, Shapes, Go by Denise Fleming
- Shape Up! by David Adler
- The Shape of Things by Dale Dodds
- If You Were a Quadrilateral by Molly Blaisdell
- If You Were a Polygon by Marcie Aboff
- Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban
- Give Me Half by Stuart Murphy
- A Fraction’s Goal – Parts of a Whole by Brian Cleary
- Jump, Kangaroo, Jump by Stuart Murphy (fractions)
- Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza by Marjorie Eberts (fractions)
Books for Teaching Graphing, Money, & Financial Literacy
- The Great Graph Contest by Loreen Leedy
- Family Reunion by Bonnie Bader (graphing)
- Once Upon a Dime by Nancy Allen
- Just Saving My Money by Mercer Mayer
- A Dollar, A Penny, How Much and How Many? by Brian Cleary
- Trouble with Money by Stan Berenstain
- Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells
- Tightwad Tod by Daphne Skinner
- You Can’t Buy a Dinosaur with a Dime by Harriet Ziefert
- Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins (money)
- Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
- Jelly Beans for Sale by Bruce McMillan
- Dollars and Sense by Stan Berenstain
- If You Made a Million by David Schwartz
FREE Math Books for Kids Guide
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Download your free copy of the math book list by clicking the image below.
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These are great suggestions! I love the idea of incorporating books into math lessons, and I am always looking for new books to use in math. Thanks for the wonderful ideas!
Incorporating math trade books into my day helped open a new world for my students. I’ve accumulated many books and created a doc by content for use throughout the school year. I am SO VERY excited to read your list and begin growing my personal library. Thanks for a great article!