Full booklist from Kindergarten Math with Confidence, with over 30 math picture books your kindergartner will love.
Why Math Picture Books?
When my kids were younger, I taught math enrichment classes at their weekly homeschool program. Since the students used different math programs at home, I wasn’t responsible for teaching any specific skills or concepts. My job was to do what I love best: make math come alive in a fun, engaging, and hands-on way.
It was a ton of fun….but it could also be exhausting, especially my group of 19 first- and second-graders. This wiggly crew definitely kept me on my toes.
But for at least one nanosecond each week, all eyes were on me, all mouths were quiet, and no one was poking their neighbor.
When did this magical moment occur? When I pulled out the weekly math picture book.
Suddenly, everyone was engaged. From the child who didn’t know how to write the number 10 to the child breezing through three-digit subtraction, every student wanted to know what happened to the little boy trying to make sure his sister didn’t get more than him, or the dog-walker with more dogs than he could handle. Every hand would wave wildly with a connection to the book: Are gorillas’ hands really that big? I have guinea pigs, too! I saw an excavator just like that once!
Math Picture Books in Kindergarten Math with Confidence
That’s why it was so important to me to include math picture books in Kindergarten Math with Confidence: so that you and your child can also experience that kind of wonder and fun during your math lessons. So, in each Week Overview, you’ll find a suggestion for a “Math Book of the Week” to enjoy together. I’ve included all the books in this article –including their covers, descriptions, and links to Amazon–so you can see them all in one place.
This booklist is not meant to to stress you out! (Or bust your budget, either.) You do not have to read every single math picture book to give your child a great kindergarten math education. But if you can find a few of them at your library or buy a few of them to add to your family’s collection, I bet you’ll discover a whole new way to enjoy math with your child.
A Few Tips on Enjoying Math Picture Books with Your Kids
- When you read a math picture book for the first time, just enjoy the story together. Then, come back and discuss the math concepts either after you finish reading or during your second reading. Nothing ruins the fun of listening to a story like constant interruptions from mom!
- Add these math picture books to your shelf and reread them periodically. You may be amazed at what your child notices after she’s had a few more months to grow in her math skills.
- Enjoy these books with children of multiple ages, and don’t worry if some of the content goes right over some of your children’s heads. Many of these books work for kids from toddlers through early elementary age, and there’s no hard-and-fast rules about which ages these picture books are best for.
- Kindergarten Math with Confidence only has 4 lessons per week, so you can read the Math Book of the Week on the fifth day, or simply add it to your read-aloud pile and enjoy it during your usual read-aloud time.
- If your library doesn’t have many of these books, see if your library participates in a regional lending group. (Here in Michigan, we can request books from any library in the state!) Or, see if your library offers access to an electronic resource like Hoopla or Overdrive. Digital picture books aren’t quite the same as printed ones, but they’re better than nothing.
- Many of these books are also available as read-aloud videos on Youtube.
- If you’d like to buy just a few, I’ve starred 5 of my favorites for you to consider. These are books worth rereading, so they’re a great way to start building your math picture book collection.
I hope this list gives you a starting place for enjoying math picture books with your child. Happy Math!
Disclosure: The links to the math picture books in this article are affiliate links. If you go through them to make a purchase, I will earn a small percentage of that purchase as a commission, without any increased cost to you.
Picture Books about the Numbers to 20
By Becca Teckentrup
This rhyming picture book challenges children to find the matching pair of animals on each page.
By Philemon Sturges and illustrated by Anna Vojtech
A brother and sister count from 1 to 10 and then back again as they catch and release 10 fireflies.
By Betsy Franco and illustrated by Steve Jenkins
This gorgeously illustrated book counts down from 10 with bird songs. The book begins with a woodpecker tapping 10 times, a dove cooing 9 times, and so on. The text tells how many times each bird makes its noise, with the actual words for each noise written out on the page.
By Betsy Franco and illustrated by Shino Arihara
This beautifully-illustrated book depicts the number zero in a variety of seasonal contexts familiar to children. After you read it, encourage your child to think of more ways to describe zero: “Zero is…the amount of dog food left in the bowl after Rocky eats it all up.”
By Donald Crews
The illustrations and rhyming text in this simple counting book illustrate the numbers from 1 to 10 with black dots in various contexts. For example, 2 black dots form the eyes of a fox, and 8 black dots serve as the wheels on a train.
By Daphne Skinner
Little brother Albert anxiously makes sure that he and his sister receive equal treatment: If she checks out 4 library books, he checks out 4 library books. If she gets to invite 3 friends to a tea party, he gets to invite 3 friends to his own tea party. The ending has a sweet twist as Albert realizes that perhaps not all things in life must be equal.
By Bernard Waber and illustrated by Paulis Waber
Lyle, a kindly crocodile, loves his job as a dog-walker. More and more families ask him to walk their dogs until he is in charge of 10 dogs. As you enjoy this sweet and silly book with your child, have him count the number of dogs on each page and find the printed numerals on each page.
By Mark Lee and illustrated by Kurt Cyrus
This colorful picture book tells the story of how a broken-down ice cream truck leads to a traffic jam of 20 trucks. Rhythmic and rhyming text counts the trucks one-by-one and reinforces the number words up to 20.
By Katie Viggers
This book introduces children to the written numbers to 20 with silly number rhymes like “1 fox in a pair of socks” or “8 chickens reading Dickens.”
By Trudy Harris and illustrated by Andrew N. Harris
This book tells of a competitive alley cat who loves to use tally marks to compare himself with his friends.
Picture Books about Skip-Counting
By Diane Johnston Hamm and illustrated by Kate Salley Palmer
As more members of the family hop into bed, a little girl counts by 2s to figure out how many feet are in the bed. After you read the book, have your child count by 2s to find out how many feet are in your own family.
By Michael Dahl
A mother hen looks for her chicks as they run all over the barnyard. Each chick is illustrated as an egg with 2 legs sticking out of the bottom, and the rhyming text counts the number of legs by 2s. As you read, point out the matching dots and written numerals at the bottom of each page.
By Michael Dahl
This simple book demonstrates counting by 10s with bare toes at the beach. After you read the book with your child, ask your family members to take off their socks and have your child count all the toes in your family by 10s.
Picture Books about Shapes and Patterns
By Barbara Mariconda and illustrated by Sherry Rogers
Packy the Packrat has accumulated too much stuff , and his mother is fed up. (Perhaps you can relate?) As he categorizes his treasures, the rhyming text gives you and your child a chance to guess the name of each category before revealing it on the following page. There’s also a fun subplot hidden in the illustrations. (Hint: Packy’s sister is up to something.)
By Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrated by James Kaczman
This book focuses on one shape at a time with a short poem that describes the shape and lists many familiar examples. The corresponding illustration includes each real-life shape, so have your child look for them as you read.
By Tana Hoban
This wordless book consists of photographs of everyday scenes and gives your child an opportunity to practice finding shapes in real life.
By Bobbie Kalman
Beautiful, brightly-colored photographs of butterflies, crabs, dragonflies, people, and more demonstrate symmetry in nature. As you enjoy the book with your child, have him identify the symmetric sides in each creature.
By Stuart J. Murphy
Emma is chosen to lead the Grandparents Day march, but she’s not sure how to tell left from right. Her teacher ties a red string around Emma’s wrist to identify her right hand, and Emma ends up leading the parade successfully.
By Trudy Harris
The rhyming text gently leads children to identify a variety of patterns in the illustrated fish. After you’ve read through the book once, read it again with your child and have him examine the borders of the pages more closely. He’ll find that the pattern in each border matches the pattern on that page’s fish.
Picture Books about Addition
By Trisha Speed Shaskan and illustrated by Francesca Carabelli
This book illustrates many different addition situations with bright-colored, whimsical animals. As you read, discuss with your child how the pictures match the text and printed equations.
By Lynette Long
This book uses dominoes to illustrate addition combinations. On each page, it asks children to find dominoes with a given total number of spots. (For example, “Which dominoes have a total of FOUR spots?”)
By Keith Baker
Beautiful paper-cut illustrations show 7 little ducklings as they splash and play. Each page shows different combinations of the 7 ducks: 6 and 1, 5 and 2, etc. As you read, discuss how the illustrations match the text.
Picture Books about Subtraction
By Brian P. Cleary and illustrated by Brian Gable
This rhyming book gently introduces the meaning of subtraction and the word minus through many real-life examples, like stuffed animals, bowling pins, and time-outs in a basketball game.
By Loreen Leedy
A class of animal students solve subtraction problems as they sell treats, run an obstacle course, and wait to get their faces painted. As you read, discuss how the equations in the book match the illustrations and story.
By Trisha Speed Shaskan and illustrated by Francesca Carabelli
This book illustrates many different subtraction situations with bright-colored, whimsical animals.
Picture Books about Measurement and Time
By Steve Jenkins
The beautiful paper-cut illustrations in this book show different animals (or parts of animals) at their actual size, from the 12-inch-wide eye of a giant squid to the 2 ½-inch-tall pygmy mouse lemur. As you read the book with your child, have her compare her own hands and feet to the animals in the book.
By Mark Weakland and illustrated by Igor Sinkovec
This whimsical rhyming book uses unusual units (like skunks, soccer balls, and fire hydrants) to measure height and length. For example, “21 skunks, with a little luck, stand as tall as 1 garbage truck.”
By Mark Weakland and illustrated by Bill Bolton
This humorous book uses rhyming text and non-standard units (like guinea pigs, marshmallows, and milk cartons) to compare and measure weights. For example, “1 glowing pumpkin in need of braces weighs the same as 7 guinea pigs making faces.”
By Alice and Martin Provensen
This book tells of a year in the life of a farm, month by month, with affectionate descriptions of the animals and their seasonal cycles: “April is a spring month. You can tell that spring is here by all the eggs.” Enjoy the detailed illustrations and descriptions with your child, and emphasize the names of the months as you read.
By Judy Sierra
The very organized Mr. Crocodile makes an hourly schedule for the day, including a plan for catching, cooking, and eating some pesky monkeys. After he becomes friends with the monkeys, he revises his plan so that he plays and eats bananas with the monkeys instead.
By Dan Harper and illustrated by Barry and Cara Moser
A mother cat describes her “busy day” with times to the hour (for example, a big stretch at 6 o’clock, or a nap at 10 o’clock). Each time is written with words in the text and depicted on a clock with hands in the illustration. The book also includes a built-in clock with plastic hands that move.