5 of the Best Math Picture Books for Early Elementary Children

parenting for success Dec 08, 2022

Young children love to snuggle up with an adult and listen to a story. These books are some of the best math picture books to read with children and they teach math at the same time. If you are looking for some books for older elementary students, you can find my list here.

1. Balancing Act by Ellen Stoll Walsh

A big part of math is understanding that the two sides of a math equation must be balanced.  This little book illustrates this idea perfectly with different animals balancing on a teeter-totter.  While the book is simple enough for young readers, the ideas are big and will resonate long after the story has been read.

2. Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst

You may know the character Alexander from Alexander, and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  In this story Alexander trades his dollar for more coins, thinking that more is better than just one.  Throughout the story he emphasis the number of coins he has rather than the value.  It’s fun to stop throughout the story and think through the value of the coins and the mistakes Alexander is making. 

3. The Animals Would Not Sleep by Sara Levine

Such a cute story about bedtime.  Marco is trying to get his animals to calm down and go to sleep.  He sorts them in many different ways, encouraging the reader to think about the different attributes of all the stuffed animals.  A great introduction to sorting which can lead to many sorting adventures at home. 

4. Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

It can be difficult for elementary students to have a concept of relative size. This book does a terrific job of illustrating the relative sizes of different animals. It also familiarizes children with many different animals. The cut paper illustrations are so interesting to look at. I highly recommend this exploration of measurement.

5. Grandfather Tang's Story by Ann Tompert

Children find tangrams endlessly interesting. This story brings tangrams to life as animals in a story about a grandfather and his granddaughter. With a set of plastic tangrams or a set of virtual ones from the internet, children can follow along and build the animals in the story. Children will explore how triangles fit together to make