Books About Explaining Your Ideas and Listening to Others

math picture books math practices parenting for success Mar 22, 2024

I met with a group of librarians this week and we talked about Math Practice #3 – “Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.”  We had such a heartwarming conversation about how this is a math practice and being able to explain our thinking, listen carefully to another person, and think about their perspective is such an important life skill.  After listening to someone else’s perspective you may or may not change your mind but it is important to listen and take in the information.  They may have a completely different way of looking at something that really resonates with you.  How do you teach these skills to young kids?  These books will really help you get started.  Each one showcases a big life skill and breaks it down in kid-sized way to help engage children in the conversation.


Twenty Questions by Mac Barnett is a great book for helping children accept the idea that others might have a different answer to a question or a different perspective and we can all be “right.”  Each page has a new question to discuss and explore.  So many interesting conversations are sure to follow from the pages.


One of These is Not Like the Others by Barney Saltzberg has a set of four animals or objects on each page.  They are similar in many ways but also one is of the animals or objects is different. A great starting place for conversations about valuing difference.  Being able to share an answer that is different from everyone else’s is such an important skill in math.  This book will give children the courage to stand out from the crowd.


In Today I Will Fly by Mo Willems, Piggie is sure she will be able to fly.  Elephant is not so sure.  Enjoy this story as they share their different points of view and eventually come to a new understanding. 


In another Mo Willems favorite, Listen to My Trumpet, Piggie wants to play the trumpet for Gerald.  Gerald struggles to listen to the notes as he considers whether this is actually music.  A simple yet powerful story about being truthful and honest when a friend, even when your ideas differ.  



They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel took my breath away.  This book so beautifully helps students understand the idea of seeing something from someone else’s perspective.  In the book a dog sees a cat as skinny and easy to catch.  A fish, looking out from a bowl, sees a cat as just its eyes smooshed against the glass.  It introduces the idea that we can all see things a different way and that doesn’t mean that anyone’s perspective is “wrong.”  What a powerful book to read to young children to help them understand this concept.


Read some of these books with your child and help them become comfortable with listening to different opinions and sharing their own opinion.  This is a skill they will use well beyond math.