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Maths Picturebooks List

Picturebooks can provide an excellent way of engaging pupils with maths. On this booklist, we have picked a selection of the best maths-themed stories that open opportunities to explore a range of mathematical concepts. Many thanks to Year 1 teacher Dean Boddington for working together with us to create this selection of the best children’s books about maths topics.

Counting books for children

Julia Donaldson & Sharon King-Chai
Picturebook
Nominated for "Favourite Books of 2020" by: Bertie, age 5 (resident lift-the-flap expert at BooksForTopics HQ) Bertie says, "This is my favourite bedtime book because it has flaps with baby creatures to count. My favourite part is finding the baby spiders, which you can search for all over the book."
Caryl Hart
 & Nick East
Picturebook
Pasta Man has run out of Pasta Power. . . Can our young hero help him to get his powers back and defeat evil Madame Chilli, who wants to rule the world with lashings of chilli sauce? With action-packed adventure and bright, detailed artwork, this is the ultimate fun-filled counting storybook!
Valerie Bloom & David Axtell
Picturebook
A simple counting story from 1 – 10 that is written in the style of a Caribbean dialect, with stunning illustrations that will quickly grab the attention of young readers. This rhyming book written by much-loved poet Valerie Bloom introduces basic counting as well as showcasing a number of different fruits from the Caribbean. There is a glossary at the end of the book that explains the new words that readers may have encountered in the story.
Hollis Kurman
 & Barroux
Picturebook
This is a counting book with a difference - the counting is a context for a story about forced migration. We follow a family who are forced to flee a war-torn country. They board a boat and travel to safety in another country where the children go to school and make new friends. It's a hopeful and positive story which promotes kindness. Each page counts through different acts of kindness that helped the family in their difficult situation; 2 hands lifting the children to safety from the boat, 3 donated meals to fill the children up, 4 beds in a temporary shelter, 8 welcome gifts in the new home, 10 new friends to play with, etc. The simple format leaves plenty of space to think about and discuss the pictures, providing opportunities to discuss ways to be kind and to imagine what life might be like as a refugee.

Michelle Robinson
 & Tor Freeman
Picturebook
Ten fat sausages sizzling in the pan... decide to escape, if they can! Come on a great escape through the kitchen as we follow each sausage that decides to make a run for it. Will they succeed or will the cat, blender, plug hole or fan prove their downfall? Michelle Robinson's no-holds-barred humour is perfectly matched by Tor Freeman's mad-cap artwork. Hilarious and merciless, this tale will have you hooting out loud.
Nick Sharratt
 & Sue Heap
Picturebook
A wonderful and unique look at counting and friendship. This very simple picture book is about two friends, Sue and Nick, who like very different things but are still best friends. They introduce us to all their favourite things from one boy called Nick and one girl called Sue to ten cakes for tea, and then all the way back down to one yellow moon shining in the night sky. The artwork is stunning with each artist contributing alternate pages in their own inimitable style. The deceptively simple text is perfect for children learning to read.

Picturebooks about number

Andrea Menotti
 & Yancey Labat
Picturebook
This large book is a showstopper among maths picture books. Emma and Aidan are trying to decide how many jellybeans they need. As they compete, the numbers get larger. The book offers a fantastic visualisation of larger numbers, especially the fold out million jellybean crescendo. Perfect to share 1-on-1 but it would equally enthral an assembly hall full of children!
Tony Ross
Picturebook
A funny tale of a centipede who gets sore feet and needs shoes and socks to help with his problem. Having always thought he had 100 feet, Centipede eventually realises that he doesn't have that many. In the end he gives up on the footwear and redistributes them to his lesser-footed friends. This would be a great book to look at doubling and halving (pairs of shoes) or sharing (look at how many of his shoes he could give to various creatures).
Anna Milbourne
 & Serena Riglietti
Picturebook
This is a book that helps younger children to visualise the larger numbers that intrigue them so much, through a cute and playful story about a curious penguin who wants to find out more about numbers. The book ends with a pull-out poster with one million stars in the night sky.
AJ Wood
 & Allan Sanders
Picturebook
Take a ride through 26 fully illustrated search and find spreads, each one themed on a number. Count the animals going into Noah's Ark two-by-two, spot 13 scary skeletons at the haunted house on Halloween and visit Farm Fifteen where everything from one scarecrow through to 15 apples need to be found. Allan Sanders' weird and wonderful drawings are packed full of funny things to spot and plenty of Where's Waldo style humour, making this the best way to learn your 1, 2, 3s... Great for parents and guardians to use with kids, or for young readers to enjoy independently, the 26 fun puzzles will keep readers entertained for hours.
Sven Voelker
Non-fiction Picturebook
Double the numbers to go from 1 to 1,000,000 in 40 pages. A stunning visualization of numbers big and small. We start with a single tree; 1. As we turn the page, we are presented with a sum doubling the number on the page before it: 1+1 = 2; 2+2 = 4; 4+4 = 8. In this way, we reach a million (actually 1,048,576) within 44 pages. Each sum is brought to life with a simple graphic illustration in the distinctive style of Sven Völker. The dots form the back of a ladybird, the bubbles in a cup of soda and the water in a swimming pool. On each page, a single neon dot illustrates what one means in the context of the sum. Gloriously simple in its concept and execution, this is a book that will bring mathematics alive to parents as well as children and will also make a stunning gift book.

Picturebooks about shape, space and measure

Steve Jenkins
Non-fiction Picturebook
This book is full of mind-blowing facts that readers young and old will find astounding, offering interesting context to the complex topic of time as well as distance and world history. It could be used across KS1 and KS2, either being used as a book to enjoy as a read-aloud and talk about the amazing facts or to delve deeper into each page and work through some of the related calculations.
Alison Limentani
Non-fiction
Weight and mass often mean little to children without context. This book is brilliant for offering the context to the topic, with each page building on the last to compare the weight of different animals. It is fascinating to read the comparisons and children will begin to formulate their own questions and hypotheses long after the book is finished.
Mac Barnett
 & Jon Klassen
Picturebook

There are three separate books in this trilogy of sublimely illustrated picture books where the main characters are shapes; Triangle, Square and Circle. Offering a story-based opportunity to explore shapes and discuss properties, each book develops the relationship between the shapes. The trilogy ends on a cliff hanger, with a mysterious shape appearing in the shadows but it is never revealed what it is. Children will love sharing their theories about the mystery shape and the stories provide a fantastic opportunity to assess understanding of shape properties and related vocabulary.

Mac Barnett
 & Jon Klassen
Picturebook

There are three separate books in this trilogy of sublimely illustrated picture books where the main characters are shapes; Triangle, Square and Circle. Offering a story-based opportunity to explore shapes and discuss properties, each book develops the relationship between the shapes. The trilogy ends on a cliff hanger, with a mysterious shape appearing in the shadows but it is never revealed what it is. Children will love sharing their theories about the mystery shape and the stories provide a fantastic opportunity to assess understanding of shape properties and related vocabulary.

Mac Barnett
 & Jon Klassen
Picturebook

There are three separate books in this trilogy of sublimely illustrated picture books where the main characters are shapes; Triangle, Square and Circle. Offering a story-based opportunity to explore shapes and discuss properties, each book develops the relationship between the shapes. The trilogy ends on a cliff hanger, with a mysterious shape appearing in the shadows but it is never revealed what it is. Children will love sharing their theories about the mystery shape and the stories provide a fantastic opportunity to assess understanding of shape properties and related vocabulary.


Naomi Jones
 & James Jones
Picturebook
No matter how hard she tries, Triangle doesn't roll like the circles, or stack like the squares...so she sets off to find friends that look exactly like her. But when she finds the other triangles, playtime isn't as fun. She misses the shapes that roll and stack; she misses being different. So she starts a new quest, one that gets all of the different shapes playing and having fun together!

Picturebooks that invite mathematical discussion and problem-solving

Kes Gray
 & Jim Field
Picturebook
This fantastic author-illustrator duo always bring laughter into the classroom with their books and this time you get a helping of maths at the same time. Starting simply, the reader is asked to add different numbers of animal legs. The difficulty level increases as the book progresses and children love comparing their results at the end (with big cheers from those who get it correct).
Jean-Luc Fromental
 & Joëlle Jolivet
Picturebook
A funny story about a family who, on 1st January, start receiving a penguin each day through the post. There are mathematical challenges along the way that are suitable from Year 2 up to Year 6. Children will love listening to the story and pausing to calculate questions on a whiteboard too. With quirky and fun illustrations, this will quickly become a class favourite.
Tom Lehrer & Chris Smith
 & Elīna Brasliņa
Non-fiction
That's Mathematics is a maths book like no other. It's a vibrant, colourful book for young children showing them that maths is useful, interesting, fun and EVERYWHERE! They use it every day when they count, share, play, do sport, make cakes or move to music. Aimed at children from 5 to 8 years , the youngest can enjoy it as a picture book, reading Lehrer's rhyming song lyrics and looking at Elina Braslina's joyful illustrations. They will pick up a basic understanding of real-world maths and learn some core maths language along the way. Older children are challenged to ' Try This ' and ' Explore This ' by author Chris Smith, who is a maths teacher, musician and all-round maths enthusiast. The activities are designed to deepen their curiosity and knowledge . There are supporting online activities to continue the fun, plus notes for parents to encourage you to get involved and help you discuss topics covered and keep the learning going after the book is closed.
DK
Non-fiction
This playful preschool maths activity book will unleash your child's curiosity as they play their way through 20 amazing maths projects. Each easy step-by-step activity is hands-on and practical to encourage budding mathematicians to use their senses. Look I'm A Maths Wizard explores essential maths topics to get children prepared for school. The perfect maths book for kids ages 3 to 6. Look I'm A Maths Wizard is full of activities to show young readers just how much fun maths can be! Children will discover that maths has a part in everything in the world and that they already have the tools they need to become magical mathematicians - a curious mind, unlimited imagination, and super senses. A great introduction to learning maths, this book teaches kids the magic of numbers through play. Inside they'll deal with number bugs, creating a hungry adding robot, learning about subtraction by playing skittles, crafting 3D shape aliens, and even making a repeating pattern fruit wand. Covering a comprehensive range of maths topics, from counting and numbers, to shape and size, and measurements and time, this is the perfect first maths book for children. Every fun project features a mixture of bright photography and charming illustrations that support the easy-to-follow activity instructions. These creative hands-on activities support Early Years and Key Stage One maths curriculums taught in schools. Look I'm A Maths Wizard allows little readers to do what they do best - imagine, create, learn, problem-solve, and play their way to maths magic! Try Out Amazing Projects! You don't need a fancy calculator or a whiteboard full of big numbers to be a maths wizard. You already have everything you need - your amazing brain and your senses! Look I'm A Maths Wizard is full of puzzles to solve, things to work out and brain teasers. This educational book is full of fun maths activities for kids like: - A maths treasure hunt - Making shape aliens - Measuring things - Clever counting - And much, much more!

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