Books about mathematical concepts are great tools for integrating the reading and math skills children need to be successful. These math books will encourage interaction with numbers and discover the ways math concepts are an integral part of everyday life.

“The Chicken Problem” by Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson, 2012, Random House, ages 4-7.

Peg, and her friends Cat and Pig enjoy a picnic at the farm, when they realize there is an extra piece of pie. They invite a chick to join them, but soon there are chicks everywhere and only one piece of pie to share. Cooperation, counting, and calmness help the friends get the situation under control and return to their picnic.

“The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbably Life of Paul Erdős” by Deborah Heiligman, Illustrations by LeUyen Pham, 2013, Roaring Book Press, ages 5-9.

Paul Erdős, a world-renowned mathematician, could work complicated math problems at the age of three and knew he wanted to go on to study math by the age of four. With a mother for a math teacher, and a gift for numbers, Paul was constantly counting, calculating, and thinking about numbers. His eccentric personality and mental genius did pose difficulties for him in school and life. His brilliant math ideas led to new concepts in math, better search engines, codes for spies, and the “Erdős number”.

“100 Ways to Celebrate 100 Days” by Bruce Goldstone, 2010, Henry Holt, ages 4-8.

The 100th day of school is celebrated in many primary classrooms as a way to promote counting and understanding the concept of 100. This book presents brightly colored images of a hundred different things children could count at school or home, including bubbles, coins, paper clips, books, and crackers.

“That’s a Possibility! A Book About What Might Happen” by Bruce Goldstone, 2013, Henry Holt, ages 7-10 years.

Colorful photographs and simple text explain key probability terms, such as certain, odds, probable, and chances, in a simplistic way. The inclusion of real objects will inspire readers to try many of the activities on their own and see if their results match those in the book. An author’s note at the end of the book explains the real-world applications for knowing the difference between possibility and probability.

Whether introducing a new concept or reinforcing math skills, math books and reading make for a useful partnership to promote learning.

Reviewed and photo by Elizabeth Dobler

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