15 Best Children’s Math Books to Spark a Love of Math in Kids

15 Best Children's Math Books to Spark a Love of Math in Kids

As a parent, one of the greatest gifts you can give your child is a solid foundation in math. It’s more than just numbers and equations; it’s a universal language that unlocks a world of critical thinking, problem-solving, and even creativity. That’s why children’s math books are an absolute must-have in your home library. In this blog post, I’ll share with you my top picks for children’s math books that are not only educational but also engaging and entertaining. These books are designed to spark a love of math in your little ones, making learning feel like a fun adventure rather than a chore. So, let’s dive in and discover the magic of math together!

Being a child is a phase of life characterized by growth, discovery, and unbridled curiosity. It’s a time of learning, both academically and socially, where experiences are fresh, and the world is a wonder to explore. Children possess the unique ability to live in the moment, finding joy in the simplest of things. Despite challenges and obstacles, childhood often represents an era of innocence and freedom, setting the foundation for the individual’s future identity and worldview.

Indeed, the power of a child’s brain is immeasurable. Akin to a sponge, it readily absorbs information from the environment, constantly learning, adapting, and creating neural networks. Every child, given the right opportunity, nurturing environment, and stimulation, has the potential to become the main character in their own extraordinary intellectual feats, reminiscent of geniuses like the mathematical magician, Albert Einstein.

 It’s our responsibility as parents, educators, and society to recognize and cultivate this potential, to inspire a future generation of thinkers, innovators, and leaders in their daily life. One educator who has made significant contributions to this field is Greg Tang, whose innovative approach to teaching math has helped countless students develop a love for the subject.

A Child’s Math Journey

As an educator and father of two little kids, I always believed that the journey into mathematics for a child should commence at an early stage. Mathematics, often perceived as an abstract and challenging subject, can be made enjoyable and relatable for children through playful, everyday experiences. Jon Scieszka, the author of “Math Curse,” is a great example of how math can be made fun and engaging for kids through storytelling. Another great resource for children is “Anno’s Counting Book,” which uses beautiful illustrations to teach counting and basic math concepts, including the use of the Anno’s counting book.

Counting toys, comparing shapes, or understanding the concept of time, all lay the foundation for a child’s numerical literacy in different ways. Early exposure to math not only enhances problem-solving and logical reasoning abilities, but also instills a strong number sense, nurturing a generation that is comfortable and confident with numbers. It’s crucial to remember that math is not about rote learning, but understanding concepts, finding patterns, and making connections – a journey that begins right from one’s childhood. Understanding these concepts will help children to take the rooster’s off and become confident in their mathematical abilities.

It’s absolutely astounding to witness a child’s memory retention capabilities, especially when it comes to older kids. They are capable of recollecting events or details from years ago, surprising us with their vivid recollections. This remarkable ability is not just limited to remembering family trips or birthdays, but can also extend to learning experiences. This is particularly useful when it comes to mathematics. 

If a child can recall and build upon their mathematical encounters from years ago, it can lead to a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of the subject. This powerful tool of memory can thus be harnessed to further enhance a child’s mathematical journey, making the learning process interesting, engaging, and impactful. David Adler, a renowned mathematician, has written extensively on the subject of mathematical education for children and is a valuable resource for parents and educators alike. Cindy Neuschwander, another expert in the field, has also contributed significantly to the development of mathematical education for children.

Why is Number Sense Important in Early Learning?

Number sense and math skills, including the use of math picture books, are key components in early learning due to several significant reasons. It refers to a child’s ability to understand large numbers and their relationships, enabling them to perform basic arithmetic operations, estimate quantities, and discern patterns. Developing a strong number sense and math skills during the early years of a child’s life is akin to laying a solid foundation for a house. Without this bedrock, advanced mathematical concepts become challenging to comprehend and apply.

Moreover, number sense plays an integral role in everyday life, helping children understand the world around them in a more structured and logical manner. It aids in tasks such as telling time, baking, shopping, or planning a schedule.

Lastly, a strong number sense can contribute to a child’s academic confidence, especially in young children. When children understand numbers and their applications, they can engage in classroom activities with greater self-assuredness, fostering an overall positive attitude towards learning. This can lead to improved academic performance, not just in mathematics, but across all subjects. 

Understanding the properties of basic shapes, such as the rectangle, can also contribute to a child’s number sense and overall academic success. One way to help children understand shapes and their properties is through the use of books like “Sir Cumference and the First Round Table,” which introduces geometry concepts in a fun and engaging way, authored by April Pulley Sayre.

Therefore, cultivating number sense in early learning, including in Kindergarten and third grade, is not merely about teaching children to count, add, or subtract. It’s about shaping confident learners who can navigate the world with a logical and analytical mindset.

Pattern Recognition and Sorting in Math

Pattern recognition is another fundamental skill in a child’s mathematical journey. It involves identifying recurring sequences or trends and predicting what comes next. This skill is not only crucial in mathematics, but it also plays a significant role in understanding the world around us. From predicting the changing seasons to understanding the rhythm of a song, pattern recognition is everywhere, even in the behavior of pigeons who are known to solve simple riddles. One great example of a children’s book that teaches pattern recognition is “The Greedy Triangle” by Marilyn Burns, which was praised by the poet and playwright Eve Merriam.

In the context of mathematics, pattern recognition aids in understanding number sequences, geometry, and even algebra at a later stage. Sorting, on the other hand, is a child’s first step into the world of data management. It involves grouping objects based on certain attributes like shape, size, color, etc. This seemingly simple task helps children understand similarities and differences, organize information logically, and make informed decisions. 

Mouse Count, a popular children’s book by Mitsumasa Anno, is a great way to introduce sorting and counting to young children. Pythagoras, the ancient Greek mathematician, was known for his contributions to geometry and the Pythagorean theorem, which involves the relationship between the sides of a right triangle and is still widely used today. Crocodiles, which are known for their sharp teeth and powerful jaws, are also fascinating creatures that can be studied using mathematical concepts.

Therefore, incorporating activities that promote pattern recognition and sorting in a child’s everyday routine can have a profound impact on their mathematical abilities. Games, puzzles, and picture books are excellent tools to achieve this. 

In the following sections, I will be highlighting some of the best children’s math books that make learning these concepts fun and enjoyable, even if they are as small as a grain of rice. These concepts include decimals.

Problem-Solving Skills through Math Books

One of the most invaluable skills that children’s math books can cultivate is problem-solving. The interactive exercises and puzzles presented in these books challenge young minds to think critically and come up with solutions. These activities often require kids to use their understanding of numbers, shapes, and patterns in innovative ways, thereby enhancing their ability to approach problems with analytical thinking. 

As they work through each problem, not only do they become more adept at math, but they also develop resilience and determination in the face of challenges, such as identifying black dots in a pattern or fish eyes. This ability to tackle problems does not just aid in mathematical learning, it also significantly contributes to their overall intellectual and personal growth, including the popular children’s book “Grandfather Tang’s Story” which incorporates problem-solving skills in its storyline.

But what is the best way to spark a love of math in kids?

Math Books Are the Right Apparatuses to Start A Child’s Math Journey

Indeed, children’s math books are the quintessential apparatus to start a child’s math journey. Illustrated with colorful, engaging images and filled with relatable scenarios, they effortlessly merge fun and learning in a fun way. Many math books for kids often incorporate enjoyable elements like puzzles, games, and stories, such as a fun story by Steven Kellogg, to explain mathematical concepts, making the subject less intimidating and more interesting for young minds. A fun book can be a great way to introduce math to children and help them develop a love for the subject.

They nurture curiosity, encourage exploration, and stimulate logical thinking, all while teaching the fundamentals of numbers, shapes, and patterns. Most importantly, these books are designed to make the child the protagonist of their learning journey, fostering a sense of accomplishment and fostering a love for math and animal friends.

What are the Best Children’s Math Books?

Below, I have curated a list of my top 15 favorite children’s math books. Each of these children’s math books is a vibrant splash of color, fun, and learning that’s sure to make your child’s mathematical journey an exciting adventure. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this colorful world and discover the joy of learning math through these delightful children’s math books.

Best Childrens Math Books to Spark a Love of Math in Kids
All of the Above is a heartwarming and charming book that will keep readers captivated from beginning to end. Shelley Pearsall does an exceptional job of bringing to life the story of four inner-city students who set out on a seemingly impossible task of building the world's largest tetrahedron. The author deftly weaves together the personal stories of the characters, their teacher, and the community, creating a rich tapestry of thought-provoking and entertaining emotions. All of the Above is a true page-turner with a touch of humor, tenderness, and a dash of suspense. You'll laugh, cry, and root for these kids every step of the way. This unexpected gem deserves a special place on everyone's bookshelf. It is highly recommended!...
"Numbers in Motion: Sophie Kowalevski, Queen of Mathematics" by Laurie Wallmark takes readers on an inspiring journey through the life of a remarkable woman who shattered barriers in mathematics. Sophie Kowalevski was more than just a brilliant mathematician; she was also a gifted writer whose creative work informed her research and led to groundbreaking discoveries. As the first woman to receive a doctorate in mathematics, hold a university chair, and even become the editor of a major scientific journal, Sophie's legacy is awe-inspiring. With Wallmark's engaging storytelling, "Numbers in Motion" will captivate readers of all ages and inspire the next generation of STEAM leaders....
Code Breaker, Spy Hunter by Laurie Wallmark is a picture book biography that young readers will not be able to put down. It tells the fascinating story of Elizebeth Friedman, a little-known code breaker who made a huge impact in the early days of US cryptology. From taking down notorious gangsters to breaking Nazi spy codes, this remarkable woman's work undoubtedly saved thousands of lives. What sets this biography apart is the inclusion of engaging back matter that explains codes and ciphers, provides further information on cryptology, a bibliography, a timeline of Elizebeth's life, and even secret messages for young readers to decode. ...
On a Beam of Light is an enlightening children's book that entertains and offers valuable insight into one of the world's most celebrated geniuses. Written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky, On a Beam of Light follows Albert Einstein from his childhood through his greatest scientific breakthroughs. Funny and filled with captivating illustrations, this award-winning picture book will capture your child's imagination and teach them the importance of hard work and self-discovery. On a Beam of Light is one of the best kids' books available, making it the perfect choice for parents who want to help spark their children's creativity and ensure they develop an appreciation for science....
Molly and the Mathematical Mystery is a fantastic book for kids who love math and adventure! From the engaging storyline to the imaginative setting, this exploration-based story offers plenty of surprises as young readers follow Molly's journey of discovery. The fun and intelligent protagonist uses her mathematical savvy to uncover clues and solve the mystery, making it a great pick for parents who want to instill a love of math in their children. But it's not all about the math - the book is full of humor, intrigue, and bravery, making it a thrilling and entertaining read for any child. This is one book that kids won't want to put down!...
Miguel Tanco's Count on Me is a picturesque book that takes us on a journey through the eyes of an undaunted young mathematician. In a world where passions are celebrated, we find the heroine of this book enthralled with the beauty of math. Her perception of the world, seen through a mathematical lens, allows her to appreciate the geometric shapes on the playground or the concentric circles that stones make when thrown into a lake - something that might go unnoticed by others....
The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague by Julia Finley Mosca is a must-read for anyone looking to be inspired by the life of a true pioneer. Raye Montague faced countless challenges as a gifted mathematician trying to break into engineering, but she never let sexism or racial inequality hold her back. Her perseverance paid off when she achieved her greatest career accomplishment, changing the course of ship design forever. This educational series is not just an illustrated rhyming tale but a complete biography that includes fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Montague herself. Montague's story will leave readers feeling empowered and invigorated....
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly is a must-read book for anyone interested in history, women's rights, and STEM or looking for inspiration. This beautifully illustrated picture book edition tells the powerful story of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, who defied all odds and shattered barriers to become some of NASA's most important mathematicians. Margot Lee Shetterly's writing style is captivating, and the book is full of anecdotes and quotes that will leave readers feeling both inspired and humbled. The importance of this book cannot be overstated, as it sheds light on a group of remarkable women who, until recently, were overlooked and forgotten and...
Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins is a delightful and heartwarming story about two siblings who want to run a lemonade stand in the dead of winter. Pauline and John-John may seem crazy for selling cold drinks in the freezing weather, but their entrepreneurial spirit shines bright as they set out to make a few bucks. The story teaches young readers about basic math concepts and the importance of determination and hard work. With its catchy refrain and charming illustrations by G. Brian Karas, Lemonade in Winter is a must-read book for both storytime and classroom use....
If you're looking for a fascinating read combining math, biography, and a touch of quirkiness, look no further than The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdős by Deborah Heiligman. This delightful book sheds light on the life and work of Paul Erdős, a Hungarian mathematician who became one of the most prolific and beloved figures in the field of mathematics. The book explores Erdős' unconventional life and his unquenchable passion for numbers while examining his unique ways of thinking and collaborating with others. Whether you love math or not, this book will surely captivate you with its engaging narrative and whimsical illustrations....

What are 7 year olds learning in math?

At the age of seven, children are typically in Grade 2 and they are expanding their understanding of math beyond basics. They are building upon the number sense, pattern recognition, and problem-solving skills they’ve developed in earlier years. At this stage, children are learning to add and subtract two-digit and three-digit numbers, and are starting to understand the concept of multiplication and division. 

They are also exploring more about fractions, particularly halves and quarters. In terms of geometry, seven-year-olds are learning to identify, describe, and compare different shapes and their attributes. They are also introduced to the concept of measurement, including length, weight, volume, and time. These concepts are taught using a variety of methods, including interactive activities, games, and math story books to make the learning process enjoyable and effective.

What helps kids learn math?

Several factors aid in children’s math learning. The first is a supportive learning environment, where children are encouraged to explore, make mistakes, and learn at their own pace. This cultivates a positive attitude towards math and reduces math anxiety.

Interactive and hands-on activities also play a crucial part in math learning. These can include math games, puzzles, or real-life applications of math, like cooking or shopping, that make learning engaging and meaningful.

Moreover, children’s math books are phenomenal tools that blend storytelling with mathAn error occurred during generation. Please try again or contact support if it continues.

At what age should a child know math?

Mathematical understanding begins to develop from a very early age. Children as young as two start exhibiting the ability to count and recognize numbers in their environment. Around the age of 3-4 years, kids typically start grasping the concept of addition and subtraction on a basic level, mainly through practical life experiences and play. By the age of 5-6, as they enter school, children become more comfortable with numbers and start learning more complex mathematical concepts like place values and simple fractions in an academic setting. So, in essence, a child’s math journey begins as early as their toddler years and continues to evolve through their academic life.

What math do 8 year olds learn?

By the age of eight, typically in Grade 3, children’s mathematical abilities are further refined and broadened. They continue to work on addition and subtraction, but now with larger numbers, up to thousands. Multiplication and division become a significant focus, including understanding of multiplication tables and applying them to solve problems. 

They further delve into fractions, learning to compare and order them, and beginning to add and subtract simple fractions. In geometry, eight-year-olds start to investigate the properties of two-dimensional shapes and learn about perimeter. They also gain a deeper understanding of measurement concepts, including the measurement of time and money. Children’s math books continue to be valuable aids in teaching these concepts, making them more accessible and engaging for eight-year-olds.

How can I find out if a book is worth buying for my child?

Determining whether a book is worth buying for your child involves a few critical considerations. Firstly, assess the book’s relevance to your child’s age and their current level of mathematical understanding. The book should be challenging enough to stimulate their intellect but not so difficult that it overwhelms them. Secondly, look for reviews from other parents or educators who have used the book. Their insights can provide valuable information about the book’s effectiveness in teaching math concepts. 

Thirdly, peruse the book yourself—does it make math fun and engaging? Is it visually appealing with colorful illustrations or diagrams? Does it incorporate stories or characters that your child can relate to? Lastly, consider the children’s math book’s longevity. A good book will not just be beneficial for immediate learning but also serve as a resource that your child can return to for reinforcement or advanced learning.

What makes good children’s math books better than others?

Good children’s math books adhere to a few key principles that set them apart from others. Firstly, they embed mathematical principles into compelling stories that captivate children’s interest and imagination. This story-based approach makes abstract math concepts more concrete and relatable for children. 

Secondly, they are visually appealing, utilizing vibrant colors, engaging illustrations, and easy-to-read text. Thirdly, they provide interactive elements, such as puzzles, exercises, or real-life examples, which encourage active learning and help children see the practical applications of math. Lastly, exceptional children’s math books are age-appropriate, aligning with the child’s cognitive development and mathematical understanding. They gradually increase in complexity, offering consistent challenges that encourage progress while ensuring the child never feels overwhelmed.

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Ali Kaya


Ali Kaya

This is Ali. Bespectacled and mustachioed father, math blogger, and soccer player. I also do consult for global math and science startups.