The Best Children’s Math Books for Enhancing Your Math Instruction

Both teaching and learning math should be an enjoyable experience. I always knew that when I became a teacher, I would make it a priority to make learning math fun for my students – because I hated learning it as a kid. 

I’ve used various math teaching strategies over the years to make it happen, but as an avid reader, I knew math books would be a part of my math lesson plans!

Choosing engaging children’s math books for your math instruction will take your teaching strategies to the next level. 

The beauty of using books to anchor your math lessons is they provide a visual representation of math concepts. And those visual representations help make abstract ideas more accessible, more relatable, and encourage students to use their imaginations!

Plus, they promote critical thinking and problem-solving in a non-intimidating way. In the end, students are given a math learning experience that is enjoyable and meaningful. 

But enough about how helpful math books are to your instruction. I am here to share a few of my favorite math books and how you can use them to teach various math concepts.

{Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links have been used in this post, but I only share items I actually use and enjoy!}

Math Picture Book for Division

The book "The Doorbell Rang" with a box of cookie cereal.

The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins is a classic story that combines the power of friendship and the comfort of freshly baked cookies. And it just so happens to be the perfect math book for introducing division concepts – as the arrival of each new friend is a chance to figure out how to divide the cookies between them!

Consider beginning your division lesson with this book and a division activity using cookies

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Students can practice dividing into equal groups by modeling the division situations as they’re presented in the story.

As you are reading the book, pause to let students model the division situations with cookie cereal or some other mini cookies. They can divide the cookies into equal groups to answer questions throughout the read-aloud.

Try this activity in your classroom with this FREE cookie division booklet

Or you can see how I’ve used this book practicing division with sharks, instead.

Math Picture Book for Practicing Shapes

The Greedy Triangle book and a geoboard with a rubberband shape.

The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns is the perfect book to introduce shapes in a comedic and visual way. Your students can follow along as this gloomy triangle shapeshifts out of control!

As you are reading the story, students can create the shapes from the book on geoboards. Afterward, students can create their very own shape-shifter creation and describe its attributes.

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In the example above, the student created a square friend and described its sides, corners, and where you might see it in everyday life!

Math Picture Book for Measuring Length

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Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni is such a fun read for the littles! It follows a tiny inchworm who just loves to measure all the animals around until one day he gets the ultimate challenge from a nightingale.

Besides being a creative and clever read, it’s also a wonderful way to introduce measuring length to your students!

In the book, the worm is measuring different parts of the animal so, to keep on with the theme, you can have students create an animal and then measure them after they read the story. 

Consider having students measure in both inches and centimeters to compare and drive classroom discussion! 

As a bonus, you can turn the drawings into a fun bulletin board for your measurement unit. I did something similar during a previous measurement lesson.

Math Picture Book for Area and Perimeter

Spaghetti and Meatballs math book.

Spaghetti and Meatballs for All is truly a mathematical story with a humorous punch that kids will love!

The story helps introduce the early stages of learning about area and perimeter as Mr. and Mrs. Comfort tries to figure out the seating arrangements for their family reunion.

To reinforce the story, students can explore area with a fun activity using Cheez-its!

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I am always an advocate of using snacks as manipulatives in the classroom! These Cheez-its make the perfect food to practice area thanks to its square shape.

To practice, students can create an area booklet. On the front, they can make a Cheez-it man, and inside they’ll use a template to create shapes based on the given areas from the included math prompts.

This activity opens up a fun discussion about how even though you’re using the same amount of square units, the shapes can be created in many different ways!

You can find a more detailed look at how to complete this activity in my post on area activities.

More Picture Books for Teaching Math Concepts

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I truly believe using picture books geared toward math can greatly enhance your math instruction! In addition to the five books I shared above, you can find a full list of some of my favorite math picture books on my Amazon storefront.

Here’s a quick look at a few others I love!

Save this list of Elementary School Math Books to enhance your math instruction this year!

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Hi, I'm Amy

Hey, y’all! My name is Amy Lemons and I am passionate about providing students with both engaging and effective standards-based Math and ELA lessons.


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