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Storytelling through Math

by | Mar 14, 2023 | Children, Matchmakers, Picture Books

I must admit, math is not my strong suit. Sometimes kids will come up to the reference desk to ask me for some homework help, and I always panic internally if it’s math-related. The inevitable incredulous question: “didn’t you learn this in school?!” (An opportunity to demonstrate first-hand that adults don’t know everything!) 

Once upon a time, as a space-loving grownup, I thought I could read myself into loving (and understanding) math. I tried to read Sagan, and Hawking, and David Foster Wallace, and tagged along with my theoretical physicist friend to lectures. None of this really helped but it did solidify my deep appreciation for math as its own language, one that can describe and tell stories about the universe in different ways than words can. I am in awe of minds that are fluent in this language, and in honor of them I would love to share some picture books that represent and affirm mathematical ways of thinking, especially in a medium that is about storytelling – math is also storytelling!


Leo + Lea, by Monica Wesolowska, illustrated by Kenard Pak

Isobel Add It Up, by Kristy Everington, illustrated by AG Ford

Count on Me, by Miguel Tanco 

Too-Small Tyson, by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Magloire Williams


We Are One: How the World Adds Up, by Susan Hood, illustrated by Linda Yan 

Seven Golden Rings: A Tale of Music and Math, by Rajani LaRocca, illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan

 Crash! Boom! A Math Tale, by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Chris Chatterton

Too Many Pigs in the Pool, by Wendy Hinote Lanier, illustrated by Iris Amaya


Math Curse, by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith

Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts

Arithmechicks Add Up: A Math Story, by Ann Marie Stephens, illustrated by Jia Liu

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes