Picture Books for Math Instruction

MATH FOR KIDS:1 children’s books that build a love of math

Math Picture BooksDevelopment and Research for Early Mathematics Education2

(This is a suggested and not an exhaustive list. Nor has it been deliberately curated but is compiled here for your reference.)

Adding and Subtracting

  • Quack and Count by Keith Baker
  • Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle
  • Elevator Magic by Stuart J. Murphy
  • One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab by April Pulley Sayre and Jeff Sayre
  • Albert Adds Up by Eleanor May


  • Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno
  • Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
  • Eric Carle’s 123 by Eric Carle
  • Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On by Lois Ehlert
  • Zero is the Leaves on the Trees by Betsy Franco
  • Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh
  • How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
  • Hippos Go Berserk! By Sandra Boynton

Measurement and Size

  • Who Eats First? by Ae-hae Yoon
  • Just a Little Bit by Ann Tompert
  • Balancing Act by Ellen Stoll Walsh
  • Next to an Ant by Mara Rockliff
  • Inch by Inch by Leo Leonni
  • The Growing Story by Ruth Krauss

Patterns and Algebra

  • Anno’s Magic Seeds by Mitsumasa Anno
  • Two of Everything: A Chinese Folktale by Lily Toy Hong
  • Mr. Noisy’s Book of Patterns by Rozanne L. Williams


  • The Shape of Things by Dayle Ann Dodds
  • Have You Seen My Monster? by Steve Light
  • Circus Shapes by Stuart J. Murphy
  • The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns
  • Mice on Ice by Eleanor May
  • Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh
  • Round is a Tortilla by Roseanne Thong
  • When a Line Bends, a Shape Begins by Rhonda Growler Greene

Spatial Relations

  • Albert is Not Scared by Eleanor May
  • Inside, Outside, Upside Down by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch by Mary Peterson
  • Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres
  • Where’s Spot? by Eric Hills
  • The Secret Birthday Message by Eric Carle
  • Changes, Changes by Pat Hutchins
  • Over, Under, and Through by Tana Hoban
  • Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins

Taking Apart Numbers

  • 12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve Merriam
  • Ten Friends by Bruce Goldstone


Number Sense – Place Value, Magnitude, Counting

  • 100th Day Worries – Margery Cuyler
  • Comparing Numbers – M. W. Penn
  • Five Little Monkeys – Eileen Christelow
  • Great Estimations – Bruce Goldstone
  • Greater Estimations – Bruce Goldstone
  • How Many Seeds In A Pumpkin? – Margaret McNamara
  • How Much Is A Million? – David M. Schwartz
  • Let’s Estimate: A Book About Estimating and Rounding Numbers – David A. Adler 
  • One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale – Demi
  • One Hundred Hungry Ants – Elinor J. Pinczes
  • Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons – Eric Litwin
  • Place Value – David A. Adler
  • Sir Cumference and All the King’s Tens: A Math Adventure – Cindy Neuschwander
  • Splitting the Herd: A Corral of Odds and Evens – Trudy Harris
  • Stay in Line – Teddy Slater
  • The King’s Commissioners – Aileen Friedman
  • The M&M’s Counting Book – Barbara Barbieri McGrath
  • The Rain Forest Counts! – Lisa McCourt

Fractions and Percent

  • Apple Fractions – Jerry Pallotta
  • Eating Fractions – Bruce McMillan
  • Fraction Action – Loreen Leedy
  • Piece=Part=Portion: Fractions=Decimals=Percents – Scott Gifford
  • Twizzlers Percentages Book – Jerry Pallotta
  • Whole-y Cow! Fractions Are Fun – Taryn Souders

Operations – Addition, Subtraction

  • It’s Addition – M. W. Penn
  • It’s Subtraction – M. W. Penn
  • Subtraction Action – Loreen Leedy
  • The Action of Subtraction – Brian P. Cleary

Operations – Multiplication, Division

  • 2×2=Boo! A Set of Spooky Multiplication Stories – Loreen Leedy
  • A Remainder of One – Elinor J. Pinczes
  • Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream – Cindy Neuschwander
  • Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar – Masaichiro and Mitsumasa Anno
  • Math = Fun! Multiplication and Division – Jerry Pallotta
  • The Best of Times – Greg Tang
  • The Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Multiplication Book – Jerry Pallotta
  • The Lion’s Share – Matthew McElligott


  • It’s a Pattern! – M. W. Penn
  • Patterns at the Museum – Tracey Steffora


  • Grandfather Tang’s Story – Ann Tompert
  • If You Were a Polygon – Marcie Aboff
  • If You Were a Quadrilateral – Molly Blaisdell
  • It’s a Shape! – M. W. Penn
  • Kitten Castle – Mel Friedman and Ellen Weiss
  • Math Fair Blues – Sue Kassierer
  • Mummy Math: An Adventure in Geometry – Cindy Neuschwander
  • Perfect Square – Michael Hall
  • Shapes in the Kitchen – Tracey Steffora
  • The Greedy Triangle – Marilyn Burns
  • The Quiltmaker’s Gift – Jeff Brumbeau and Gail de Marcken

Measurement – Linear, Area, Perimeter, Coordinate Grids

  • Sam’s Sneaker Squares (Area) – Nat Gabriel
  • Sir Cumference and the First Round Table – Cindy Neuschwander
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! A Mathematical Story – Marilyn Burns
  • X Marks the Spot! – Lucille Recht Penner


  • A Second Is a Hiccup: A Child’s Book of Time – Hazen Hutchins


  • A Dollar, A Penny, How Much and How Many? – Brian P. Cleary
  • Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday – Judith Viorst
  • Caps for Sale – Esphyr Slobodkina
  • Follow The Money – Loreen Leedy
  • Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money – Emily Jenkins
  • Once Upon A Dime – Nancy Campbell Allen
  • Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun With Math and Money – Amy Axelrod
  • The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble With Money – Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • The Penny Pot – Lynne Avril Cravath

Data Management

  • Who’s Got Spots? – Linda W. Aber


  • A Very Improbable Story – Edward Einhorn
  • Bad Luck Brad – Gail Herman
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – Judi Barrett
  • That’s a Possibility! A Book About What Might Happen – Bruce Goldstone

Multiple Skills

  • More M&M’s Math – Barbara Barbieri McGrath
  • Tyrannosaurus Math – Michelle Markel

Problem Solving

  • Math Appeal – Greg Tang
  • Math For All Seasons – Greg Tang
  • Math-terpieces: The Art of Problem Solving – Greg Tang
  • The Grapes of Math – Greg Tang
1Math for Kids–The Best Childrens Books. Retrieved 4 July 2020, from https://www.the-best-childrens-books.org/math-for-kids.html)

2Uscianowski, C. and Ginsburg, H.P. (2019) 40 Children’s Books That Foster a Love of Math. Development and Research in Early Math Education (DREME). https://dreme.stanford.edu/news/children-s-books-foster-love-math. Direct download from https://saskmath.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/math_picture_books_full_list.pdf.

3Beatties, E. (n.d). Mrs. Beattie’s Classroom. Retrieved 4 July 2020, from https://www.mrsbeattiesclassroom.com/2018/01/best-picture-books-for-teaching-math.html/ (Permission Granted)


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