I am not sure how long educators have been keeping lists of books that are valuable for teaching mathematical concepts. Certainly, children’s literature has always discussed mathematical issues because math is in so many parts of our daily lives! I was excited to find two math bibliographies from the 1950’s. I appreciated the glimpse into the history of using literature to teach math. Even in the 1950’s, math textbooks were including examples of literature that could be used to teach math and others were making bibliographies of more examples (Hutcheson et al 1956).

In the tables below, I list the books suggested from each bibliography and add categories for what type of math concept is included in the book.

### Math Bibliographies From Half a Century Ago!

Hess’s 1957 article updates the Hutcheson et al bibliography, particularly for primary and older grades (Hess adds nothing to recommend for grade 4, and only a couple for grade 3). Hess’ bibliography for the younger grades is almost exclusively to teach counting and telling time. This is in line with the recommendations from Hutcheson et al in 1956: most books for younger grades involve counting, and Hutcheson et al repeatedly suggests that some books go “too far” when introducing counting beyond 10, showing microscopic or gigantic sizes, or dealing with “abstract” (their words) concepts.

### Math Bibliographies From Today

Librarians have continued the practice of preparing lists of books that support teaching math. The Hawai‘i State Public Library System has a bibliography of 31 books, called Math Picture Books for Kids, that I found in the McCully Moiliili Branch when I was browsing the children’s books section. The School Library Journal has a 2014 post with 43 books.

I compared these two lists with the types of books I saw in the lists from the 1950’s. Today, there are many more books for younger ages dealing with larger numbers, problem-solving, and concepts the authors from the 1950’s might have felt too abstract. For instance, Demi’s *One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale* came up on both the new lists, and this book is for younger students and deals with exponential growth.

Even with all the new math concepts compared to lists from the 1950’s, telling time is notably absent from the newer lists; only one book, from the HSPLS list, focuses on time (Hutchins’ *A Second is a Hiccup*). Even with digital time-telling devices, I think being able to tell time on a clock is still important. More important is being able to correctly add and subtract time–this is really difficult even for adults! I’d look for newer books about working with time, because I think the authors in the 1950’s were smart for including such books.

### References

- Hess, Adrien L. 1957. “A Bibliography of Mathematics Books for Elementary School Libraries.”
*The Arithmetic Teacher*4 (1): 15–20. - Hutcheson, Ruth, Edna Mantor, and Marjorie Holmberg. 1956. “The Elementary School Mathematics Library: A Selected Bibliography.”
*The Arithmetic Teacher*3 (1): 8–16. - Kropp, Lisa G. 2014. “Marvelous Math Books for PreK and Up.”
*School Library Journal*, March. http://www.slj.com/2014/03/programs/marvelous-math-books-for-prek-and-up/. - Le Page, Mysti. 2012. “Math Picture Books for Kids”. Hawai‘i State Public Library System.

### Suggested Current Books (Compiled from Kropp and Le Page)

Author. Title. Year. |
Topics |
Source |
Grade/Age |

Adler, David A. Millions, Billions & Trillions: Understanding Big Numbers. 2013. | Large numbers | Kropp | Gr 2 Up. |

Adler, David A. Triangles. 2014. | Geometry | Kropp | Gr 2 Up. |

Adler, David A. You Can, Toucan, Math: Word Problem-Solving Fun. 2006. | Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division | Kropp | Gr 1-3. |

Axelrod, Amy. Pigs at Odds: Fun with Math and Games. 2000. | Probability | Kropp | Gr K-2 |

Birch, David. The King’s Chessboard. | Progression | Le Page | |

Boynton, Sandra. Hippos Go Berserk! | Counting | Le Page | |

Burns, Marilyn. Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! A Mathematical Story. 1997. | Geometry | Kropp | Gr 1-3. |

Campbell, Sarah C. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature. 2010. | Addition, Fibonacci numbers | Kropp | Gr 3 Up |

Carle, Eric. The Grouchy Ladybug. | Measurement, Sequence, Estimation, Comparison, Fractions | Le Page | |

Chae, In Seon. How do you Count a Dozen Ducklings? 2006. | Counting | Kropp | PreK-1 |

Clements, Andrew. A Million Dots. 2006. | Large numbers | Kropp | |

Colgan, Lynda. Mathemagic! Number Tricks. 2011 | Math facts | Kropp | Gr 3-5 |

D’Agnese, Joseph. Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci. 2010. | Addition, Fibonacci numbers, Historical math figures | Kropp | Gr 2 Up |

Dee, Ruby. Two Ways to Count to Ten: A Liberian Folktale | Counting, Skip counting | Le Page | |

Demi. One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale. | Exponential growth | Le Page | |

Demi. One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale. 1997. | Exponential growth | Kropp | Gr 1-3 |

Dugan, Joanne. 1 2 3: A Counting Book of New York City. 2007. | Counting | Kropp | PreK-1 |

Duke, Kate. Twenty is Too Many. | Subtraction | Le Page | |

Endicott, Jodi. I Had a Dollar in Hawaii: A Story About One Dollar That Traveled Hawaii. | Economy, Money | Le Page | |

Franco, Betsy. Mathematickles! | Collection | Le Page | |

Giganti, Paul. How Many Blue Birds Flew Away? | Counting, Comparison | Le Page | |

Goldstone, Bruce. Greater Estimations. 2008. | Counting, Estimation | Kropp | Gr 1-3 |

Gunderson, Jessica. How Big? Wacky Ways to Compare Size. 2014. | Measurement, Comparison | Kropp | PreK-2 |

Harris, Trudy. Pattern Bugs. 2001. | Patterns | Kropp | PreK-1 |

Heiligman, Deborah. The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdős. 2013. | Problem solving, Historical math figures | Kropp | Gr 2 Up |

Hong, Lily Toy. Two of Everything. | Exponential growth | Le Page | |

Hutchins, Hazel. A Second is a Hiccup. | Time | Le Page | |

Jenkins, Steve. Actual Size. 2004. | Measurement, Proportion | Kropp | PreK-3 |

Lasky, Kathryn. The Librarian Who Measured the Earth. 1994. | Measurement, Historical math figures | Kropp | Gr 2 Up |

Leedy, Loreen. It’s Probably Penny. 2007. | Probability | Kropp | PreK-2 |

Leedy, Loreen. Mission: Addition. 1997. | Addition | Kropp | Gr 1-3 |

Lewis, J. Patrick. Artithme-Tickle: An Even Number of Odd Riddle-Rhymes. 2002. | Riddles/Puzzles | Kropp | Gr 1-4 |

Lewis, J. Patrick. Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems. 2012. | Riddles/Puzzles | Kropp | Gr 2-5 |

Lionni, Leo. Inch by Inch. | Measurement | Le Page | |

Litton, Jonathan. Mesmerizing Math. 2013. | Measurement, Probability, Symmetry, Geometry | Kropp | Gr 3 Up |

Long, Ethan. The Wing Wing Brothers Geometry Palooza! 2014. | Geometry | Kropp | K-2 |

Long, Ethan. The Wing Wing Brothers: Carnival De Math. 2013. | Addition, Subtraction | Kropp | Gr 1-3 |

Maccarone, Grace. Three Pigs, One Wolf, and Seven Magic Shapes. | Tangrams, Shapes | Le Page | |

McElligot, Matthew. The Lion’s Share. | Fractions, Division, Multiplication | Le Page | |

McMillan, Bruce. Eating Fractions. | Fractions | Le Page | |

McNamara, Margaret. How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? 2007. | Estimation | Kropp | PreK-2 |

Merriam, Eve. 12 Ways to Get to 11. 1996. | Counting | Kropp | PreK-1 |

Murphy, Stuart J. A Pair of Socks. 1996. | Patterns | Kropp | PreK-K |

Murphy, Stuart J. Leaping Lizards. 2005. | Counting | Kropp | K-2 |

Murphy, Stuart. The Sundae Scoop. | MathStart series | Le Page | |

Murphy, Stuart. Three Little Firefighters. | Shapes, Sorting, MathStart series | Le Page | |

Otoshi, Kathryn. One. | Counting | Le Page | |

Overdeck, Laura. Bedtime Math. 2013. | Collection | Kropp | PreK-4 |

Pallotta, Jerry. Ocean Counting: Odd Numbers. 2005. | Counting | Kropp | K-2 |

Pinczes, Elinor. Inchworm and a Half. | Fractions, Measurement | Le Page | |

Reid, Margarette. The Button Box. | Sorting | Le Page | |

Reiser, Lynn. Hardworking Puppies. | Subtraction | Le Page | |

Rosenthal, Amy Krause. Wumbers. 2012. | Coding | Kropp | Gr 2-4 |

Schwartz, David M. If Dogs Were Dinosaurs. 2005. | Ratio, Proportion | Kropp | Gr 1-4 |

Schwartz, David. If You Made A Million. | Economy, Money | Le Page | |

Scieszka, Jon. Math Curse. | Math anxiety | Le Page | |

Scieszka, Jon. Math Curse. 1995. | Math anxiety | Kropp | Gr 1-4 |

Sebe, Masayuki. Let’s Count to 100! 2011. | Counting | Kropp | PreK-K |

Seuss, Dr. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. | Place values | Le Page | |

Shannon, George. Stories to Solve: Folktales from Around the World. | Collection | Le Page | |

Sherry, Kevin. I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean. | Size, Proportion | Le Page | |

Slade, Suzanne. The Great Divide. 2012. | Division | Kropp | Gr 2-4 |

Stills, Caroline. Mice Mischief: Math Facts in Action. 2013. | Addition | Kropp | PreK |

Tang, Greg. Math Fables Too: Making Science Count. 2007. | Counting, Addition | Kropp | PreK-K |

Tang, Greg. Math-terpieces: The Art of Problem Solving. 2003. | Problem-solving, Addition | Kropp | Gr 2-5 |

Tang, Greg. The Grapes of Math: Mind Streching Math Riddles. | Riddles/Puzzles | Le Page | |

Tang, Greg. The Grapes of Math: Mind Stretching Math Riddles. 2001. | Riddles/Puzzles | Kropp | Gr2-5 |

Thompson, Lauren. How Many Cats? 2009. | Addition, Subtraction | Kropp | K-1 |

Thompson, Lauren. One Riddle, One Answer. | Riddles/Puzzles | Le Page | |

Tompert, Ann. Grandfather Tang’s Story. | Shapes, Tangrams | Le Page | |

Viorst, Judith. Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday. | Economy, Money | Le Page | |

Walsh, Ellen Stoll. Mouse Shapes. | Shapes | Le Page | |

Wells, Rosemary. Bunny Money. 1997. | Economy, Money | Kropp | PreK-1 |

Wood, Audrey. Ten Little Fish. 2004. | Counting | Kropp | PreK |

### Older Books For Comparison (Compiled from Hess and Hutcheson)

Author. Title. Year. |
Topics |
Source |
Grade/Age |

Adler, Irving. Time In Your Life. 1955. | Time (Science) | Hess | Upper grades |

Anderson, Raymond. Romping Through Mathematics 1947. | Algebra, Geometry, Calculus | Hess | Upper grades |

Andrews, F. E. New Numbers 1935. | Math history | Hutcheson | Upper Elementary |

Banigan, Sharon. One By One. 1953. | Addition | Hess | Lower grades |

Beebe, Catherine. The Calendar. 1940. | Calendar | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Behn, Harry. All Kinds of Time. 1950. | Time | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Bendick, Jeanne. How Much and How Many. 1947. | Applied math | Hutcheson | Upper Elementary |

Berkowitz, Ethel S. The Size of It. 1950. | Proportion | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Berkowitz, Ethel S. Ups And Downs. 1951. | Spatial relationships | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Bianco, Pamela. The Doll in the Window. 1953. | Economy, Money | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Bragdon, L. J. Tell Me the Time Please 1936. | Time | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Brann, Esther. Five Puppies for Sale. 1948. | Counting | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Brindze, Ruth. The Story of Our Calendar 1949. | Calendar | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Brody, Virginia. Round the Clock Book. 1956. | Time | Hess | Lower grades |

Brown, Margaret Wise. Two Little Trains. 1949. | Spatial relationships | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Budney, Blossom. A Kiss Is Round. 1954. | Shapes | Hess | Lower grades |

Buff, Mary and Conrad. Big Three. 1946. | Time, Size | Hutcheson | Upper Elementary |

DuVoisin, Roger Antoine. Two Lonely Ducks. 1955. | Counting | Hess | Lower grades |

Eichenberg, Fritz. Dancing in the Moon. 1955. | Counting | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Fenton, Carroll Lane, and Fenton, Mildred Adams. World in the Sky. 1950. | Distance, Size | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Flynn, Harry Eugene, and Lund, Chester Benford. Tick-Tock, A Story of Time. 1938. | Time | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Fowler, H. Walter, Jr. Kites. 1953. | Applied math | Hutcheson | Upper Elementary |

Freeman, Mae and Ira. Fun With Figures. 1946. | Geometry, Shapes | Hutcheson | Upper Elementary |

Friend, Newton. Numbers: Fun And Fact. 1954. | Math History | Hess | Upper grades |

Friskey, Margaret. Chicken Little Count-to-Ten. 1946. | Counting | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Gag, Wanda. Millions of Cats. 1945. | Large numbers | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Gilles, William F. The Magic and Oddities of Numbers. 1953. | Riddles/Puzzles | Hess | Upper grades |

Haddleton, Maud. Numbers. | Measurement | Hutcheson | Upper Elementary |

Hall, William and Robin. Telltime Goes A’Counting. 1956. | Counting | Hess | Lower grades |

Hall, William. Telltime the Rabbit. 1955. | Time | Hess | Lower grades |

Hogan, Inez. Twin Lambs. 1951. | Spatial relationships, Shapes | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Hogan, Inez. We Are A Family. 1952. | Counting, Size comparisons | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Hogben, Lancelot. The Wonderful World of Mathematics. 1955. | Math, history of | Hess | Upper grades |

Huffman, Peggy. Miss B’s First Cookbook. 1950. | Measurement, Fractions | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Karasz, Ilonka. The Twelve Days of Christmas. 1949. | Counting | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Kaula, Edna M. One, Two, Buckle My Shoe. 1951. | Counting | Hess | Lower grades |

King, Dorothy N. Set the Clock. 1946. | Time | Hess | Lower grades |

Kojima, Takashi. The Japanese Abacus. 1954. | Calculus | Hess | Upper grades |

Lach, Alma S. A Child’s First Cookbook 1950. | Measurement, Fractions | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Leaf, Munro. Arithmetic Can Be Fun. 1949. | Math facts | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Leeming, Joseph. From Barter to Banking. 1940. | Economy, Money | Hutcheson | Upper Elementary |

Leeming, Joseph. Fun With Puzzles. 1946. | Riddles/Puzzles | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Leeming, Joseph. More Fun With Puzzles. 1947. | Riddles/Puzzles | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Marshak, Ilin. What Time Is It? 1932. | Measurement, Time | Hutcheson | Upper Elementary |

Meeks, Esther K. One Is the Engine. 1947. | Counting | Hess | Lower grades |

Monrad, Jean. How Many Kisses Goodnight. 1949. | Counting | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Moore, Lilian. My First Counting Book. 1956. | Counting | Hess | Lower grades |

Norman, Gertrude. The First Book of Music. 1954. | Rhythm | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Parker, Bertha Morris. Heat. 1942. | Measurement | Hutcheson | Upper Elementary |

Reed, Mary and Osswald, Edith. The Golden Picture Book of Numbers: What They Look Like and What They Do. 1954. | Collection | Hess | Lower grades |

Sawyer, W. W. and Srawley, L. G. Designing and Making. 1952. | Applied math | Hess | Upper grades |

Schlein, Miriam. Heavy Is A Hippopotamus. 1954. | Measurement | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Schlein, Miriam. It’s About Time. 1955. | Time | Hess | Lower grades |

Schlein, Miriam. Shapes. 1952. | Shapes | Hess | Lower grades |

Schlein, Miriam. The Four Little Foxes. 1953. | Counting | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Schloat, G. Warren. Adventures of a Letter. 1949. | Distance, Time, Measurement | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Schneider, Herman and Nina. How Big Is Big. 1950. | Size | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Seuss, Dr. McElligot & Pool. 1947. | Size, Shapes, Comparison | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Shackles, G. L. S. Mathematics at the Fireside. 1952. | Algebra, geometry | Hess | Upper grades |

Skaar, Grace. The Very Little Dog. 1949. | Size | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Smith, David Eugene, and Ginsberg, J. Numbers and Numerals. 1937. | Math history | Hutcheson | Upper Elementary |

Smith, David Eugene. Number Stories of Long Ago. 1919. | Math history, Riddles/Puzzles | Hutcheson | Upper Elementary |

Smith, David Eugene. The Wonderful Wonders of One-Two-Three. 1937. | Math history | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Steiner, Charlotte. The Big Laughing Book. 1949. | Riddles/Puzzles | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Thomas, Joan Gale. One Little Baby 1956. | Counting | Hess | Lower grades |

Todd, Mary Fidelis. ABC and 1 2 3. 1955. | Counting | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Townsend, Herbert. Our Wonderful Earth. 1950. | Time, Distance, Comparison | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Tresselt, Alvin. Follow the Road. 1953. | Spatial relationships, Size, Counting | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

True, Louise and Owens, Lillian. Number Men. 1948. | Counting | Hess | Lower grades |

Tudor, Tasha. 1 Is One. 1956. | Counting | Hess | Lower grades |

Watson, Nancy Dingman. What Is One? 1954. | Counting | Hess | Lower grades |

Watson, Nancy Dingman. When Is Tomorrow? 1955. | Time | Hess | Lower grades |

Weeks, Raymond. Boys’ Own Arithmetic. 1924. | Collection | Hess | Upper grades |

Weissenbor, H. Counting. 1948. | Counting, Multiplication | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Werner, Elsa Jane. The Golden Geography Book. 1952. | Time, Size, Comparison | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Wooley, Catherine. Two Hundred Pennies. 1947. | Addition, Subtration, Money | Hutcheson | Lower grades |

Zarchy, Harry. Let’s Make Something. 1941. | Applied math | Hutcheson | Lower Elementary |

Ziner, Feenie and Thompson, Elizabeth. The True Book of Time. 1956. | Time | Hess | Lower grades |

Zolowtow, Charlotte (Shapiro) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 1956. | Counting | Hess | Lower grades |

Zolowtow, Charlotte (Shapiro) I Learn My Numbers. 1955. | Counting, Addition | Hess | Lower grades |

Zolowtow, Charlotte (Shapiro) One Step, Two 1955. | Counting | Hess | Lower grades |

Zolowtow, Charlotte (Shapiro) The True-To-Life ABC Book, Including Numbers. 1952. | Counting | Hess | Lower grades |

*Note: Author, Title, Date, and Recommended Age/Grade reported from the source. Categories are sometimes suggested from the source but I assigned categories to most of the books based on the source’s annotation.*