Math Books

In the spirit of my new book with Sueanne McKinney titled Mathematics in the K-8 Classroom and Library (Linworth Publishing), I’ve decided to update this entry as I read books about mathematics concepts and mathematicians. As we did in our book, I am using National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ (NCTM) content standards as an organizational tool, with one exception—biography. Of course, some books cover more than one standard, so I placed it where I thought it should go. Feel free to make suggestions on how I can improve this page.

Biography Illus. John O'Brien. New York: Henry Holt and Co. (Grades 2-3)

All throughout his life, or so the author says, people called Leonardi Fibonacci a blockhead. This story tries to explain why. It begins like most “great” literature with a lone man perched on high who says, “You can call me…” before narrating how Fibonacci was quick and precise at math at an early age. The boy loved numbers and counted everything he came in contact with in the classroom and (when he was bored while waiting for others to finish the assignment) in nature. Fibonacci easily slipped into daydreaming, thus, earning the name Blockhead when the teacher caught him.He eventually wrote a book about numbers that included riddles that revealed the Fibonacci pattern: “If you add any two consecutive numbers in the pattern, you’d get the next number” so that it looks like, 1,1,2,3,5,8… There is a brief bio of Fibonacci in the back and a few activities to help readers use what they know about Fibonacci numbers.

Number and Operations

Adler, David A. Fun with Roman Numerals. Illus. Edward Miller. New York: Holiday House, 2008. (Grades 2-5)

This book offers simple instructions on how to read and write Roman numerals.

Allen, Susan and Jane Lindaman. Used Any Numbers Lately. Illus. by Vicky Enright. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press, 2008. (Grades K-2)

Using the alphabet as an organizational tool, the authors help readers see we come in contact with numbers all day everyday, from the numbers on the calendar and on the phone to the numbers above room doors and on volume dials.

Horton, Joan. Math Attack! Illus. Kyrsten Brooker. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. (Grades 1-3)

Rhyming text describes a young girl’s anxiety about learning the multiplication table. When her teacher asks the class a multiplication fact, numbers burst out of the girl’s head, sending everyone in panic.

Markle, Michelle. Tyrannosaurus Math. Illus. Doug Cushman. Berkeley, Calif.: Tricycle Press, 2009. (Grades K-3)

As soon as Tyrannosaurus Math is born, he begins counting and adding body parts and family members. Naturally, the older he gets, the more developed his math skills become.


Lichtman, Wendy. Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra (Do the Math). New York: HarperCollins, 2007. (Grades 5-8)

Tess is an eighth grader who is passionate about algebra. She uses algebra and mathematic concepts to names things, like her friends—s5 (Sammy) and /M/ (Miranda), and to make observations, like how often a peer is dishonest (percentages). Also see The Writing on the Wall (2008).

Hoban, Tana. So Many Circles, So Many Squares. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1998. (Grades K-2)

Full-color photographs show wheels, tomatoes, onions, dartboards, and boxes to help reinforce the idea that shapes are all around us.

Moranville, Sharelle Byars. A Higher Geometry. New York: Henry Holt, 2006. (Grades 8)

Math concepts come so easily to fifteen-year-old Anna, she wants to enter a math competition and study math in college. Since women rarely pursued math related careers in the 1950s, Anna’s family and friends do not understand her ambitions.

Pearsall, Shelley. All of the Above: A Novel. Illus. Javaka Steptoe. New York: Little, Brown, 2006. (Grade 5-8)

Multiple narrators tell the story of what happens when a group of students and a teacher in a Cleveland, Ohio, middle school decide they will form a math club and build a tetrahedron so big it will earn them notoriety.

Pelley, Kathleen T. Magnus Maximus, A Marvelous Measurer.Illus. S.D. Schindler. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (Grades K-3)

Magnus Maximus likes to measure everything! But he doesn’t measure the regular stuff like height. He measures “wetness and dryness…and everything else in between”. He also likes to count. He counts things on people, like freckles and measles. He counts things on animals, like whiskers and fleas. People praise and honor Magnus Maximus for his efforts, and he is eventually dubbed “the town’s official measurer”.

Data Analysis and Probability

Einhorn, Edward. A Very Improbable Story: A Math Adventure. Illus. Adam Gustavson. Watertown, Massachusetts: Charlesbridge, 2008. (Grades 2-5)

Ethan wakes up and finds a cat named Odds on top of his head and he will not get off . unless Ethan wins a game of probability. Ethan doesn’t have time for games, unless it’s soccer, but Odds insists and Ethan gives in.

Roza, Greg. Heads or Tails?: Exploring Probability through Games (PowerMath). New York: PowerKids, 2004. (Grades 3-4)

The author shows how probability works in the real world, whether you’re taking a true-or-false test or rolling dice.