21 Genius Math Books for Kids that Will Educate and Inspire

Best Math Books for Kids - The best illustrated math books for kids that will teach them important math concepts, captivate readers with beautiful pictures and fun math activities.

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My parents taught me math right after I learned to walk.

I was one or two years old when they taught numbers. They used simple illustrated math books. When I outgrew those simple math books, they struggled to find books that would teach math but would still be engaging for a young child.

Their inspiration came solely from a grade four textbook my dad randomly picked up on his way home one day. It was a big leap forward in difficulty.

Back then, there weren’t many resources for teaching math to toddlers and young kids.

Fast forward to now.

Kids learn math while also learning to read. Integrated learning combines multiple subjects and helps young children develop a better sense of the world by exposing them to ideas from different areas of learning in one sitting.

Many of the books we’ve recommended below integrate non-math lessons with math.

Some feature stories of perseverance. Others feature historic figures. These are the books to get excited about. They help you teach math concepts and other life lessons at the same time. Many of them feature activities you can do with your children while you read together.

How Illustrated Children’s Math Books Help Them Learn

They’re great because they:

  • Inspire your kids to pursue math and their STEM interests.
  • Increase your child’s confidence in math and math related subjects.
  • Gets your child thinking about how math is found in daily life.
  • Encourage your kid to solve problems from new angles.

Our recommendations feature one main math concept. Most of them have activities your children can do as they read.

Math Books for Kids of Different Ages

Our list is in order, from youngest to oldest (top to bottom). For ages 2-15.

How We Came to these Recommendations

Our favorite math books for kids are indicated. Our picks were based on a combination of factors. We looked at the creativity of the stories and the graphic quality of the books, the math concepts featured by each book, and expert opinions and awards from child development experts.

Our Favorites at a Glance

Bedtime Math: This Time It’s Personal

Math and Magic in Wonderland

Math-terpieces

Triangle

The Rabbit Problem 

One Grain of Rice

Bedtime Math: This Time It’s Personal

 

Goodnight, Numbers *Our Pick

Key Math Concept: Counting
Ages: 2-5

The story follows kids as they go around the rooms in the house and says goodnight to the many things in the rooms as they count them. Gorgeous images and a gentle spirit makes this book an excellent pick for bedtime. It conjures images of a starry night and shows kids how math is part of daily life and the objects they come across. Beautiful.

Peg + Cat: The Pizza Problem

Math Concepts: Introduction to Fractions
Ages: 3-7

Peg and Cat are taking their first orders at Peg’s Pizza Place where they have to figure out how to slice the pizzas to make all the customers happy. Math in the kitchen, entertaining little story about how you can problem solve with math and seize the day! An easy and fun way to introduce kids to halves and wholes.

Ten Magic Butterflies

Key Math Concept: Counting, Grouping
Ages: 3-6

Flowers and butterflies in the magical night. Vibrant illustrations. This book teaches young kids to count, group and to arrive at the same number in different ways. A great way to kickstart a child’s sense of wonder and discovery in math.

Bedtime Math: This Time It’s Personal *Our Pick

Key Math Concept: A Variety.
Ages: 3-6

Hilarious and bubbling with energy, this has more than 100 math riddles that make math fun for kids. These problems are separated into three levels so that you can jump right into what suits your kid best. This can be a great addition to the bedtime routine and comes highly recommended by critics.

Math Fables

Key Math Concept: Counting
Ages: 4-7

Rhyming fables that intrigue from story to story. Every story setup becomes more complex than the previous, encouraging young kids to learn and do problem-solving as they go through the pages of cute animals, birds, and insects.

One Grain of Rice *Our Pick

Key Math Concept: Exponents
Ages: 4-8

Lush, exotic and educational, a captivating folktale about a resourceful girl who uses math to outsmart a greedy rajah to feed a hungry nation. She asks for one grain of rice, and for it to be doubled every day for 30 days. This is a great tale teaching the idea of exponents. As a bonus, this also illustrates the importance of conviction and perseverance. Wonderful.

The Rabbit Problem *Our Pick

Key Math Concept:
Ages: 4-8

13th Century mathematician Fibonacci once posed a famous rabbit problem, asking how many rabbits there will be at the end of the year if you start off with a pair given a particular set of conditions. This book dives into this problem with hilarious and visually bold design details that make this whimsically fun for kids and adults alike. Abstract and out-of-the-box, this is a gem.

Math Curse

Key Math Concept: A variety.
Ages: 4-9

One girl’s story as she strives to break a math curse. She views everything through numbers. 30 minutes before the bus leaves and 10 things to do? Is there enough time? This is an incredibly hilarious and exciting book about encountering numbers in daily life. A natural way to go about it.

Triangle *Our Pick

Key Math Concept: Geometry and Shapes
Ages: 5-9

Beautifully illustrated watercolor and digital graphite book about a mischievous duo Triangle and Square. Delightfully quirky and smart, this fairytale-like story makes geometry fun. It’s also great for emerging readers because of the repetitive text.

Square

Key Math Concept: Geometry and Shapes
Ages: 5-9

Part of the Shape Trilogy along with Triangle, this book focuses on Square and his friend circle. It teaches kids to look at things in a well-rounded way. The artwork, like Triangle, is excellent.

Math-terpieces *Our Pick

Key Math Concept: Grouping Numbers
Ages: 5-10

Combining art and math, this book is a STEAM dream. Using art history and exploring elements from Dali, Matisse, and Warhol, kids get to solve such questions as, “Find SEVEN ways to make an 8 / group the CLOCKS, it’s getting late!” (Melting Dali Clocks)

The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague

Key Math Concept: A variety. Far more focused on teaching character and grit.
Ages: 5-10

Part of an educational series of books that chronicles the lives of some inspiring scientists, this one follows Raye Montague, a girl who wanted to be an engineer after a visit onboard a submarine in the 1940s. Rhyming verses and engaging illustrations make her empowering story come alive and also teach perseverance. This book is great for showing kids the power of chasing their dreams and overcoming obstacles.

The Boy Who Loved Math

Key Math Concept: Various, including harmonic primes and amicable numbers.
Ages: 5-8

This book chronicles the inspiring life of mathematical genius Paul Erdos. Lyrical text and beautiful illustrations make Erdos’s journey an epic story. Here’s a quirky and out-of-the-box character that can introduce kids to a world of math and show that being different is okay.

Do Not Open This Math Book: Addition + Subtraction

Key Math Concept: Addition and Subtraction
Ages: 6-9

Covers addition and subtraction in ways that will entertain kids. From muffins to kittens, this one is an essential one to keep around the house. Great for parents who are unfamiliar with the new ways that math is being taught to kids.

Seeing Symmetry

Key Math Concept: Symmetry
Ages: 6-9

This shows kids how to look for symmetry in the world around them and how it’s part of life from buildings to animals. In line with the teachings of geometry in mid-elementary school, this is an engaging and instructional way that will spark their interest in symmetry.

The Grapes of Math

Key Math Concept: Counting
Ages: 7-10

Rhymes, pictures and puzzles that teach kids how to problem solve and learn to count on the way there! It encourages kids to look at math differently.

That’s A Possibility! A Book About What Might Happen

Key Math Concept: Probability
Ages: 7-10

Taking on the concept of probability with funny photographs that help give kids a solid math understanding, this book is as entertaining as it is easy to understand. The ideas grow more complex as the pages go by, giving kids a chance to absorb the concepts and deepen their understanding of possibilities, probabilities, and certainties before moving on to the next idea.

Math and Magic in Wonderland *Our Pick

Key Math Concept: Geometry, Algebra, Equations
Ages: 8-12

Lulu and Elizabeth are a pair of witty sisters who go on a thrilling adventure through the lands inspired by Lewis Carroll with a mathematical twist. A playful and magical story that invites readers to solve riddles and logic puzzles and introduces some core mathematical ideas such as geometry, algebra and equations. Great vocabulary throughout the story too!

Anno’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar

Key Math Concept: Factorials
Ages: 9-12

An ocean inside a jar. An island in the ocean. Intrigue. Gives older elementary school kids an introduction to factorials, making the ideas concrete and easily understandable, especially when paired with activities! Originally published in Japan and later translated.

The Number Devil

Key Math Concept: A Variety. Infinity, division, prime numbers, squaring.
Ages: 10-13

Twelve-year-old Robert doesn’t like math. He has twelve dreams where he’s visited by a number devil that shows him the endless fun possibilities of numbers. Readers will join him as his attitude changes, and he begins to look forward to his dreams and discover that the world of math is a lot more fascinating than he first thought.

How to Be a Math Genius

Key Math Concept: A Variety.
Ages: 10-15

A guide for older kids on all things math, packed with lots of math activities, puzzles, cute stories and fun facts! There are lots of vivid imagery and interesting statistics. Great for late elementary to mid-teen years.

What do you think? Did we forget something that should be mentioned? Comment and let us know.

For More Ideas:

You might also be interested in our guide to the best interactive books for kids.

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