Tag Archives: math

Number Sense: Children’s Literature about Math

shapesI recently enrolled in a teacher education program. As a result, I have been learning about teaching math to young children. While I emphasized reading with my own kids, I always felt that math was a lesser priority. This is a mistake too many Americans make. Just as reading readiness is important for 4-year-olds, so is acquiring number sense, or an understanding of numbers and the ability to use them.

Here are four common preschool and kindergarten math topics, along with some great picture books that support them in a fun and stimulating manner. I am not including counting books in this post, but are many wonderful ones available that are more appropriate for younger children.

Addition and Subtraction
We have guinea pigs, and they are great pets. But, strangely, my daughter and I frequently have the same multiplying guinea pig nightmare. Maybe other people have this same dream, because I found several books about math featuring these furry creatures.

Guinea Pigs Add Up

One Guinea Pig Is Not Enough

Twenty is Too Many

Exponential growth is a difficult concept. No one describes it better than Demi in this brilliant and gorgeous book, One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale. In it, a clever young woman asks a selfish ruler for a single grain of rice, which will be doubled every day for a month. In the end, the raja learns a lesson about generosity and math.

For more multiplying fun, Two of Everything  is about a pot that doubles everything that goes into it.


I recently learned that geometry is an under-taught and under-valued subject in many schools. It’s a shame because kids love shapes, and there are many excellent books and activities focusing on them. Here are a few of my favorites:

Shape – This book by David Goodman and Zoe Miller is colorful and interactive. Younger kids will enjoy the many bright and engaging images; older children will enjoy learning about concepts such as tangrams and symmetry.

So Many Circles, So Many Squares
by Tana Hoban lets kids find shapes in everyday scenes. Hoban also published several other shape based photography books, including:

Shapes, Shapes, Shapes
        Cubes, Cones, Cylinders, & Spheres

Extension Tip: After you read about geometry, have children combine shapes to fill the bottom of a box. This exercise builds spatial ability and geometric awareness.






Children are intrigued by money. Many of them have piggy banks and experience paying for small items. While some experts argue that money recognition is not mathematics, coin counting supports awareness of one-to-one correspondence and place value.

Here are four books that will have your child counting up coins in no time. The Coin Counting Book is a straight informational book, while the other three are stories that feature child-friendly economic transactions.

The Coin Counting Book

Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money (Fun with Math & Money)

Bunny Money (Max and Ruby)

The Penny Pot

Extension Tip: For easier coin counting, create a ten-frame out of an egg carton. Fill each of the cups of egg carton with one penny each. Count out 10 cents a total of 10 times to make a dollar. Later, fill each of the cups of egg carton with 1 dime each.  Counting by ones, count out ten dimes or $1. If your child is still interested, fill each of the cups of egg carton with 2 nickels each.  Counting by twos, count out twenty nickels or $1.


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