great math books

Exponentially Great Math Books (That Aren’t Textbooks!)

The world is always being divided into two camps – ketchup or mustard, Mac or PC, cat person or dog lover, and those who love math versus those who shudder at the mere mention of mathematics. Whether you’ve got a kiddo who can’t get enough equations or a child who might appreciate more stealthy approaches, these math books are sure to be a great addition (see what I did there?) to any lifelong learner’s collection! 

 great math books


Math Picture Books

Whether you’ve got a little who loves math or a younger sibling looking to participate during lessons that may be a little too advanced, these math picture books are great options to keep little minds engaged! One of my favorite modern math ladies, Danica McKellar, has written a beautiful math book for children, Ten Magic Butterflies, that is sure to enthrall as much as it educates. Books like Length, Inch by Inch, and Equal Shmequal are fantastic math books for visually grasping measurement. Math Fables gets little brains working, while If You Were a Plus Sign is the first in an entire series of great children’s books to introduce math concepts. Fraction Fun helps make fractions understandable, and animal-living mini mathematicians will delight in Whole-Y Cow and Once Upon a Dime. 




Fun and Stealthy Math

These math books are great options for those kiddos who may resist or struggle, as they present concepts in fun or stealthy ways (like Bedtime Math). One of my absolute favorite math books of all time, How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit on a Plane?, is a fun approach to multiple math questions and is sure to be a blast for anyone! Just about anything Greg Tang writes promises to be great for introducing and understanding math, like Math for All Seasons or Math Potatoes. The History of Counting is a fascinating look into how mathematical concepts have emerged and evolved from ancient cultures, and The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat is just plain fun!




Cartoon Math

For those who learn visually, or just as a way to mix it up, these cartoon math books are excellent. The Cartoon Guide series is great and covers multiple subjects, but their Algebra, Calculus, and Statistics books are sure to tickle the fancy of any math-lover (or excite the reluctant math-learner!). Comic-Strip Math is a creative way to trick entice the more reticent kiddos to jump into math. Math with Bad Drawings and Quirky Quarks deal with some pretty advanced concepts, but their visual presentation makes them accessible as well as enjoyable.




Story-Driven Math

Whether your motivation is to sneak some math in, to deepen understanding of concepts through a literature-based approach, or just plain old enjoyment, these math stories are a great way to engross oneself in all things arithmetic. No list of the best math books would ever be complete without a mention of the Sir Cumference series, which is engaging, understandable, and bursting with fun puns anyone can appreciate! 1%, A Very Improbable Story, Multiplying Menace, Toads and Tessellations, Beanstalk – The Measure of a Giant, Mummy Math, and Claudia Mills’ books 7×9=Trouble! and Fractions=Trouble! cover specific areas of math. The Math Inspectors series, Math Curse, and Alice in Pastaland are written as stories or mysteries that incorporate math as part of the characters’ daily lives, and The Calculus Story, What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras?, and The Warlord’s Puzzle are as much history as they are arithmetic. 





Math Biographies

For those who appreciate history, or even those who really just can’t immerse themselves in math enough, there are plenty of fantastic biographies of famous or influential mathematicians. The stories of those mathematicians they may have heard of, like The Boy Who Loved Math and Counting on Katherine, are beautifully illustrated, as is Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci. The Librarian Who Measured the Earth is incredibly interesting and informative, and no math-lover’s collection would be complete without appearances by Albert Einstein or Raye Montague, like On a Beam of Light or The Girl With a Mind for Math




Whether you’re looking to deepen mathematical understanding, introduce new concepts, or delight the math-lover, these exponentially great math books have plenty to offer and are sure to be loved by all of the budding mathematicians in your life!