Math Book Magic Holiday List

It's been 2 1/2 years of searching book lists and library bookshelves for magical books to share with you on our blog. Here is our entire list. Any of them would make great gifts for the holidays, but below is a subset to make shopping a bit easier. Age ranges are not set in stone of course. 

Counting on Katherine (Part 2: The Magic)

A few days after the event, Siena and I sat down to read Counting on Katherine for the first time together. Toward the beginning of the book, Siena turned to me and said, "That’s impossible. No one can know that much math. It’s a book." She flipped back to the two pages shown below.Surprised I replied, "Yes. It is a book. But she's a real person. It's a true story about her life." The look of surprise and wonder on Siena's face was magical.

Counting on Katherine (Part 1: The Book and The Math)

Written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Tiemdow Phumiruk Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Saved Apollo 13 tells the story of Katherine Johnson, the mathematical genius who made sure that Apollo 13 returned home safely.  Counting on Katherine was published in Henry Holt and Co. in 2019 and is recommended for children in kindergarten through 4th.

Trapping Math Magic in Spider Web Shapes

Written and illustrated by Tim Hopgood Walter's Wonderful Web is a story about a spider trying to build a perfect web to withstand the wind. Walter forms webs containing sets of  similar shapes inside each other. Hopgoods lyrical lines pair perfectly with his adorable images of Walter and his web-making struggles.

Celebrate Spring with Anno’s Magic Seeds

In Anno's Magic Seeds, the main character Jack receives a gift of two magic seeds from a wizard. He is instructed to eat one of the seeds (which will sustain him for an entire year) and plant the second seed. Jack's magic seed keeps growing and growing and growing. His magical crops grow quickly, first by ones, then by twos and faster and faster. "Though the story can be followed without any math skills beyond simple addition and subtraction, sharp witted-young readers will delight in the increasingly tricky arithmetic puzzles woven into text and illustrations."

Play with your Math with Little Pea

The post below was written by Lana and her colleague Meredith Wilkes. Lana is  currently a math coach with K-6 students and teachers, and Meredith is a kindergarten teacher. Both live in Calgary.   Their post is an excellent example of two amazing, creative teachers taking a delightful picture book and examining the situations in the book through a mathematical lens. Thanks to both of them for sharing their math book magic with us.  Watch out for flying peas!

Everyone Can Learn Math (Part 2)

In the world of math, nothing matters more than how we’ve been taught to feel about math. Math is beautiful and magical. It informs so much of our world, which is what makes a student’s belief that they cannot do math all the more heartbreaking. In her book Everyone Can Learn Math, Alice Aspinall seeks to dispel the myth that some people are just not math people.

Everyone Can Learn Math (Part 1)

Here's the first line of post about Alice Aspinall's book Everyone Can Learn Math writer by Julie Homenuik: "In the world of math, nothing matters more than how we’ve been taught to feel about math."  I have such strong feelings about this sentence that I was unable to contain them in a short introduction to Julie's post.  So this POST 1 is a LONG introduction to her post which I will share next Monday as Part 2.

Do your Math Books Spark Joy?

With her new Netflix special premiering in the resolution filled frenzy of January, Marie Kondo and her Life Changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is everywhere. For those unfamiliar, one main piece of Kondo advice is too collect ALL of a particular item in your home (e.g, all clothes, all books, all papers),... Continue Reading →

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