5 Great Math Picture Books for Upper Elementary Children

math picture books parenting for success Nov 30, 2022
children reading together

Older elementary children still love listening to stories.  Reading together helps reduce stress and creates a great feeling of connection between the reader and the listener(s).  There are some great math picture books that will entertain and inspire conversation.  The ones below are some of my favorites for older elementary students. If you are looking for books for younger children, visit here.

1. The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau

I love the heartwarming message in this book as well as the gorgeous illustrations.  The centerfold image has so many details in it that children can spend a very long time noticing different things.  The message in this book is that giving to others makes one feel good and having a huge number of material items often does not.  The beautiful quilt blocks inspire conversations about geometry and design.  

2. Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe

"Nothing Stopped Sophie" is the story of a girl who lived around the time of the French Revolution and was passionate about math. This was especially notable because at that time it was considered improper for girls to pursue math. Sophie's passion for math is described in an engaging story with great pictures. It is a lovely story about perseverance and pursuing one's passions.

3. Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo by Helaine Becker


When it came out, the movie Hidden Figures captured my attention as it portrayed the story of female African-American mathematicians working at Nasa. Katherine Johnson was one of those portrayed in the movie. This lovely children's book, Counting on Katherine, shares about her childhood. Elementary students will enjoy the story and find the illustrations engaging. There is also a great explanation about how math helps send rockets into space.

4. One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktake by Demi

Children love to hear how a young girl outwits a raja with mathematics. The illustrations help children visualize large numbers and get them talking.

5. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet

This book is a chapter book but it does include pictures.  I have read this to many classes over the years and they are always entranced with the story.  One of the main characters uses pentominoes (a math manipulative) to help him make decisions.  There is also a puzzle in the images for children to solve.