Math is a difficult subject for many children, so difficult in fact that many children claim they hate math! One way to pique interest in math and to help solidify math skills is to use picture books to help explain mathematical concepts. This post includes 72 of the very best math picture books for kids.
I love teaching math!
But I have to admit, this was not always the case. As a kid, I struggled in math. From elementary school through college I struggled. It did not come easily to me and I had to work hard to maintain the scores I wanted.
When I was a new teacher, guess what? Teaching math didn’t come all too easily to me, either. I had to study and prepare for my math instruction more than any other content area, and when my students’ work came back to me showing that they too were struggling, I had to study and prepare some more!
But that was then.
Having taken a handful of exceptional professional development classes in math instruction, I can say with confidence I finally get it! (Well, mostly). But more importantly, I can teach it, too!
One thing I learned along the way is the importance of solidifying concepts using literature. While children may not be drawn to math, children are almost certainly drawn to great stories. So when we combine the two, we sneak in math concepts that can be reinforced with fun activities at the same time as retaining the interest of the children. And what administrator or director doesn’t appreciate the effort to integrate math and reading!
72 Math Picture Books for Kids
As many of you know, I have written an entire year of math lesson plans which spiral through all five disciplines of math. Included in those lesson plans are two recommended math picture books for kids to be used as an optional literacy element. This post includes every picture book I mention in those lesson plans.
I say these are math picture books “for kids”, but they are all appropriate for preschool, not just elementary school. I do own each of these books, and highly recommend them, which is why I’ve thought to put them all in one place to make it more convenient for you.
Picture Books That Teach Counting
There are thousands of counting books out there, but these are some preschool favorites.
- One Duck Stuck: A Mucky Ducky Counting Book by Phyllis Root
- Elmer’s First Counting Book by David McKee
- One Chicky, Two Chicky: A Counting Bookby Cheryl Casey
- Mama Cat Has Three Kittens by Denise Fleming
- Counting Cows by Michelle Medlock Adams
- CChicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 by Bill Martin Jr.
- Ten Red Applesby Pat Hutchins
- Over in the Meadow by Jill McDonald
- Butterfly Colors and Counting by Jerry Pallotta
- Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews
- Hippos Go Berserk! by Sandra Boynton
- Hop Jump by Ellen Stoll Wash
- How Many Snails?: A Counting Book by Paul Giganti Jr.
- My Very First Book of Numbers by Eric Carle
- Eight Silly Monkeys by Steve Haskamp
- Bear Counts by Karma Wilson
- Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno
- Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra
- Jack the Builder by Stuart J. Murphy
- 12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve Merriam
- Let’s Count It Out, Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom
- Bears At The Beach, 1-20 by Nikki Yetai
- 20 Hungry Piggies by Trudy Harris
- 1 to 20, Animals Aplenty by Katie Viggers
Picture Books That Teach Shapes
There are lots of shape picture books out there, but these are some preschool favorites.
- The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss
- Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh
- Shape by Shapeby Suse MacDonald
- Wild About Shapes by Jérémie Fischer
- Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban
- My Very First Book of Shapes by Eric Carle
- My Shapesby Rebecca Emberley
- The Shape of My Heart by Mark Sperring
Picture Books That Teach Comparing and Sorting
Some of our all time favorite books come from this collection of books that teach comparing and sorting.
- The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid
- A House for Birdie by Stuart J. Murphy
- Sorting by Henry Arthur Pluckrose
- The Greatest Gymnast of All by Stuart J. Murphy
- Sort it Out! by Barbara Mariconda
- A Pair of Socks by Great Source
- Sorting at the Market by Tracey Steffora
- 3 Little Firefighters by Stuart J. Murphy
Picture Books That Teach Positions and Patterns
It’s difficult to find picture books that teach positional words and patterns, but here are eight that my preschoolers really enjoy.
- Over, Under and Through by Tana Hoban
- Rosie’s Walkby Pat Hutchins
- The Best Bug Parade by Stuart J. Murphy
- Jack and his ball: A Positional Word Adventure by Larry Olsen
- Pattern Fish by Trudy Harris
- Teddy Bear Patterns by Barbara Barbieri McGrath
- Lots and Lots of Zebra Stripes by Steven R. Swinburne
- Pattern by Henry Arthur Pluckrose
Picture Books That Teach Measurement
Measurement sometimes gets forgotten in the preschool setting, so these picture books are great for working it into the day!
- The Long and Short of It by Cheryl Nathan and Lisa McCourt
- Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni
- Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? by Robert E. Wells
- Super Sand Castle Saturday by Great Source
- Cook-a-Doodle-Doo! by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
- Just a Little Bit by Ann Tompert
- Much Bigger Than Martin by Steven Kellogg
- Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen
Picture Books for Teaching Graphing
Graphing is an important skill that can easily be taught with these fun picture books.
- Tiger Math: Learning to Graph from a Baby Tiger by Anna whitehead Nagda
- Bar Graphs by Vijaya Khisty Bodach
- The Great Graph Contestby Loreen Leedy
- When Sheep Cannot Sleep: The Counting Book by Satoshi Kitamura
- Tally O’Malley by Stuart J. Murphy
- Pictographsby Vijaya Khisty Bodach
- Let’s Eat Lunch: Learning about Picture Graphs by Susan Vaughan
- Giraffe Graphs by Melissa Stewart
Picture Books That Teach Addition and Subtraction
There are thousands of addition and subtraction books out there, but these all preschool approved.
- The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoesby Rick Walton
- The Crayon Counting Bookby Pam Munoz Ryan and Jerry Pallotta
- Fat Frogs On a Skinny Log by Sara Riches
- The Icky Bug Counting Bookby Jerry Pallotta
- Ten Terrible Dinosaursby Paul Stickland
- Ten Sly Piranhas by William Wise
- Five Little Ducks by Pam Paparone
- Construction Countdown by K.C. Olsen
72 Picture Books That Teach Math
Just to help you visualize what an awesome resource this collection of math picture books for kids is…this is what it looks like all together:
Now that is quite the library of math picture books for kids!
But here’s the thing.
These books will seriously strengthen your math instruction. They are interesting, colorful and approach math in a very kid friendly way.
Looking for Preschool Lesson Plans?
Do you like having your lesson plans done in advance in a systematic and intentional manner? Then my Preschool Literacy Lesson Plans Bundle and myPreschool Math Lesson Plans Bundle are just what you are looking for! (These are also sold in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.)
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.
Nadine Shindel says
How can I get a comprehensive list of the 72 books to teach math to preschoolers?
Sarah Punkoney, MAT says
As of right now, this post doesn’t include a printable list, so you would just have to refer to the post itself.