SWC Picture Books and Numeracy

Using Picture Books to inspire Children to look more deeply at Mathematics

The following is our Sir Winston Churchill Database of Children's Literature and Mathematics (January 2015).
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Math and Art

Math at the art museum
Group Majoongmul.
This charming and colorful book incorporates mathematical concepts by introducing children to a fresh perspective on math through art When his father tells him there's math in art, a young boy is suspicious of the idea. But when the boy explores paintings and other masterpieces with his sister and their parents, he begins to understand there is math in art, both hidden and visible. He sees, too, that math in art is brilliant--and beautiful! Hands-on activities and elementary mathematical concepts that relate to perspective, composition, symmetry, patterns, and other elements in artwork turn exploring art into an eye-opening adventure.

Math-terpieces : the art of problem-solving
Tang, Greg.

A collection of famous paintings, each paired with a clever poem that offers practice with making groups and addition.


Math in Nature

Counting on fall
Flatt, Lizann.

What if animals and plants knew math, just like you? Would leaves fall in patterns? Would whales enter a race? In Counting on Fall, the first title in the Math in Nature series by award-winning author Lizann Flatt, nature comes to life to help children grasp concepts of number sense and numeration. The engaging “What if?” format of this informational picture book is sure to delight five- to seven-year-olds.

Each of the four books in the Math in Nature series will cover one season of the year and one area of the math curriculum. Colorful, cut-paper collage art uniquely evokes the natural world, while two levels of text — one a lyrical story, the other asking children to problem-solve — bring the reader to a full understanding of the math concept being covered.

Teacher Resource Guide:


Sizing up winter
Flatt, Lizann.

What if animals and plants knew math, just like us? Would snowflakes all fall from the same height in the sky? Would otters spread themselves evenly across lakes? Would groundhogs be aware of the date? In Sizing Up Winter, the third title in the Math in Nature series, nature comes to life to help children grasp concepts of time and measurement.


Sorting through spring
Flatt, Lizann.

What if animals and plants knew math, just like us? Would flowers bloom in patterns? Would raindrops fall in rhythm? Would birds balance evenly on branches? In Sorting through Spring, the second title in the Math in Nature series, nature comes to life to help children grasp concepts of patterning, sorting, data management, and probability

Teacher Resource Guide:


Shaping up summer

Flatt, Lizann.
What if animals and plants knew math, just like us? Would spiders draw pictures in their webs? Would narwhals sort blocks of ice by shape? Would insects know what’s above and what’s below? In Shaping Up Summer, the final title in the Math in Nature series, nature comes to life to help children grasp concepts of geometry, symmetry, and spatial sense


Exploring Time

Just a minute!
Slater, Teddy

When Little Panda gets a baby sister he's not at all sure he likes it. Suddenly he's become Big Panda and mum doesn't even have time to read him his story. It takes a little time and a bit of playing for Big Panda to learn that being big is fun.

Math fables
Tang, Greg

Complete with catchy titles such as "Trying Times," "Midnight Snack," and "Gone with the Wind," each brief fable told in rhyme ends with a moral. Except for some suggested activities at the end, there are no math problems or puzzles to solve. Rather, the author strives to help readers learn how to see a number as a combination of smaller groups of numbers in order to lay "the foundation for place value" and as a "first step to building strong computational skills." The text and perky, computer-generated cartoons show youngsters that there are many different ways of putting numbers together.

Sample Lesson from Scholastic: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/making-numbers-count

Math for all seasons
Tang, Greg

Another calculated success from the creators of Grapes of Math (Scholastic, 2001). Each spread features a crisp, bright illustration with a rhymed couplet that poses a counting task and gives a suggested strategy. The 16 riddles take readers through the seasons beginning with tulips and hatching chicks in springtime and ending with snowflakes and gift boxes in winter. This ambitious work encourages creative problem solving in several ways. Youngsters learn to pair or group items to make adding easier, subtract to add (such as two 5s are 10 minus 2 equals 8), and to look for patterns and symmetries that provide further shortcuts to addition.

Math strategies that multiply the best of times (grades 2-4)
Tang, Greg

Four is very fast to do when you multiply by 2.
Here's a little good advice:
Please just always double twice!

The Best of Times gives kids an intuitive understanding of multiplication, encouraging them to arrive at answers on their own rather than memorizing the times tables. A child who can multiply by two, for instance, can multiply by four and even eight! Likewise, times six builds on times two and times three.

Picture Books for Junior Grades

Math curse (Gr 2-7)

Scieszka, Jon

When the teacher tells her class that they can think of almost everything as a math problem, one student acquires a math anxiety which becomes a real curse. A great book for teaching kids that math is everywhere.

Show it in a video: https://vimeo.com/44966140

Teacher Guide


Fractions in disguise: a math adventure
Einhorn, Edward (Edward Arthur)

When a valuable fraction goes missing, George Cornelius Factor (a.k.a. GCF) vows to track it down. Knowing that the villainous Dr. Brok likes to disguise his ill-begotten fractions, GCF invents a Reducer—a tool that strips away the disguise, reducing the fraction and revealing its true form. Equal parts of action and humor add up to a wholly entertaining introduction to simplifying fractions.


The hundred-dollar robber : a mystery with money

Thielbar, Melinda.

Somebody has stolen money from the soccer team. Everyone thinks Tom, the team's big bully, did it, but he says it wasn't him. Should Adam, Amy, Joy, and Sam believe him and help? They will have to figure out how much money was stolen - and also why! the kids work with dollars and cents to find . . . the Hundred-Dollar Robber.

Also available on Tumblebooks

Teaching with Manga Books Guide:https://www.lernerbooks.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/TeachingGuides/9780761366799.pdf

The kung fu puzzle : a mystery with time and temperature
Thielbar, Melinda.

Is what Adam and Tom overhear true? Is Sifu Faiza is selling the kung fu school? And can they find a way to change her mind in time? All the kids get together to help, but theyll have to figure out a mysterious puzzle about hours, minutes, and temperature to find the unexpected solution in The Kung Fu Puzzle.

The lost key : a mystery with whole numbers
Thielbar, Melinda.

At Sifu Faiza's Kung Fu School, kids learn to be strong and fast. They also learn to be smart, cool-headed, and honest. So Joy, Adam, Sam, and Amy are surprised when the key to the school is stolen - as well as all their kung fu gear. Now they'll have to use all kinds of calculations - addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division - to figure out the clues, follow the thieves, and find . . . the Lost Key.

The secret ghost: a mystery with distance and measurement
Thielbar, Melinda.

Sam's little sister Michelle thinks there's a ghost in the creepy old house their dad bought. with help from a couple of friends on the soccer team, Sam, Amy, and Michelle use an old ghost story - plus measuring tools and calculations for distance, volume, and perimeters - to figure out the truth behind . . . the Secret Ghost.