10 Best Math Books for Kids Reviewed in 2020
Math is literally everywhere. From art to construction, we use the concepts taught to us in school as we move through our adult lives. Imagine for a moment how hard it would be to complete a task like grocery shopping or baking without math. Even the most reluctant learner isn’t born hating math. At some point in their life, they either lost interest in the subject or had a negative experience. One great way to keep young children interested, or start their interest young is with books like the ones on this list. Since we know that keeping kids interested in math relies heavily on how fun it is, you could start with one of the storybooks versus a workbook. As long as the book focuses on math it can only help your child improve their relationship with the subject and, consequently, their own future.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 35 hrs of research
Real life shape examples
- The Greedy Triangle
- Star Wars Workbook Kindergarten
- Bedtime Math: The Truth Comes Out
- School Zone Big Second Grade Workbook
- Brain Quest Workbook: Grade 3
- Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late
- Mastering Essential Math Skills Grades 4-5
- Bedtime Math: This Time It’s Personal
- School Zone Addition & Subtraction 1-2
- Scholastic Pre-K Jumbo Workbook
10 Best Math Books Reviewed
1. The Greedy Triangle
Real life shape examples
Some references may be too advanced for young readers
The word “greedy” may have negative connotations
Many books that introduce shapes to kids do so with only a limited amount of variety. You’ve likely noticed that these books only cover basic shapes such as; circle, square, rectangle, triangle, and star. We like that this book teaches about more complex shapes. It’s a great way to build on a child’s known shapes in an interesting way. Since the shapes in this book all start from one triangle, the transition via angles is a fantastic way to visually demonstrate geometrical differences.Read more
One challenge that educators face is the need to make math concepts interesting. This can be especially difficult for young children. Author Marilyn Burns wrote The Greedy Triangle which introduces geometry in a fun, engaging way. The story stars a triangle who isn’t satisfied with his shape (or life) and seeks out a shapeshifter to help him. Each visit to the shapeshifter changes him into a new shape with the addition of angles. Every time he changes the new shape is introduced with a real-life association (i.e. quadrilateral is the shape of a book).
The author also gave each shape it’s own feelings and preferences. This character development is a great way to make geometry approachable and memorable. As a bonus, the book has a great moral of self-acceptance.
Using the power of storytelling, this book is a great introduction to geometry. The learning is two-fold since the shapes themselves may be new to the reader and the angles that change them are geometric concepts on their own. All of this valuable information is made fun through great character development. Each shape has its own personality which also makes them memorable. The real-life associations will have your child pointing out advanced shapes right after reading.
2. Star Wars Workbook Kindergarten
Part of a series
Creator has a great reputation
Common core standard
Lots of tracing number activities
Might be too easy for advanced kindergarteners
The creator, Workman publishing, has a terrific reputation. You may recognize other kid’s books they’ve published such as the Brain Quest series and Fandex Family Field Guides. Their educational books are well known because they focus on unique ways to introduce information such as decks of flashcards and sticker fact books. We knew of their reputation when we found this series of books and were pleased to discover they fit in with their other titles.Read more
Teaching young children requires that the material is fun. Fun is the absolute key to keeping their limited attention long enough for them to learn. This book is heavy on the fun factor. It includes characters that any young Star Wars fan will recognize.
Since this book is up to the standards of Common Core, the activities are absolutely worth your kid’s effort. It’s fun enough to keep the interest of even the most reluctant of learners. While they are busy working through the book’s math activities they will be learning. You can also keep the momentum going with other books in the series.
The fun in this kindergarten math book doesn’t take away from its method of teaching math concepts. In fact, the creator made sure it met national Common Core standards. That means this book has the same educational value as official school materials. We think it’d make a great choice of math book for any kindergartener but would be especially helpful for those that are Star Wars fans and reluctant to sit through math exercises.
3. Bedtime Math: The Truth Comes Out
Creates educational habit
Series of books and app to accompany
Variety of difficulty levels
Parents Magazine award-winning authors
Big jump in difficulty level of problems
Story problems may be difficult for young kids
We appreciate that the Bedtime Math series doesn’t use grade levels for their problems. The author’s goal in leaving them out is to make math learning more accessible. Since the natural inclination of children is to assume they should be at the same level as their classmates, labeling the problems with phrases is preferred. Instead, it’s best to encourage kids to attempt difficult problems as they become more confident in their ability to solve them.Read more
Laura Overdeck is on a mission. To make math as exciting to children as dessert. That mission started with a book and has now grown to an entirely non-profit organization. They help children connect math to their everyday lives in a fun way. Each book is meant to be read at night like a bedtime story. The goal is that your child would look forward to a fun, brain-building math problem as part of their bedtime routine.
To ensure that kids didn’t feel pressure while attempting the problems, they avoided using grade numbers for their levels. Instead, they use phrases such as “Wee Ones” to label the difficulty level. The problems are well thought out and challenging. Overall the entire series is a great choice for encouraging your child to be interested in math as a fun activity.
The Bedtime Math series teaches a variety of math skills through simple problems. Each problem is introduced daily in a fun way. The goal is to create a habit of math problem solving that your child will enjoy so much that they seek out opportunities to apply the skills in their everyday lives.
4. School Zone Big Second Grade Workbook
Fantastic brand reputation
Includes award certificate
Compatible with series of books, flashcards, and apps
Also includes reading lessons
No index for parents
Some material may be a review for second graders
We know that kids respond to positive reinforcement. The reinforcement is especially important while they’re working on educational goals. When kids see that learning math is fun and benefits them in the short term via a reward, they’re far more likely to engage with more educational material. That’s why we especially appreciate the Second Grade Workbook includes an award certificate. It’s placed at the end of the book and made to commemorate the accomplishment of finishing the entire workbook.Read more
With over 300 pages, the Second Grade Workbook is a great educational tool. This book is part of a larger suite of educational products created by School Zone. The company was founded by a married couple who were lifelong educators. Their mission was to provide high-quality educational materials for teachers.
They quickly realized that there was a huge need for home materials and began the product line with flashcards. This workbook is part of that line and includes both math and reading exercises for kids. Since the book uses handwritten problems it improves retention making it a great choice for summer material. Whether you use this to keep skills fresh or keep kids busy, it’s a great workbook.
There are a couple of specific educational benefits that this book offers. The first is that since it is a workbook it encourages handwritten problem-solving. Experts agree that solving a problem by hand is a fantastic way to increase your ability to remember it. Another benefit is that this book has simple enough problems that keep kids engaged. As they work through each their confidence grows. That confidence is key for the more advanced math concepts that they’ll be introduced to at school.
5. Brain Quest Workbook: Grade 3
Jam-packed book with interactive exercises
Based on curriculum-based activities
Easy to follow explanations
Explanations for parents to help guide the process
Increases in the level of interest in Math
Concepts and exercises repeated throughout the book
Pages lack interactive questions
Designed based on Common Core State Standards, the Brain Quest Grade 3 Workbook includes activities that stretches over the whole year’s curriculum. These fun, engaging activities cover reading comprehension, vocab, spelling, odds and evens, multiplication tables, and more. The Brain Quest series is a great supplement for home-schooling or a wonderful tool for children who are just looking to get some more practice outside of the classroom while still having fun!Read more
Just jammed packed with everything from exercises and games to activities that are curriculum based. This book is perfect for kids that are heading into the 3rd grade. It is about to reinforce objectives that they will be learning in the classroom. The workbook is laid out in a way that allows kids to be able to follow the explanations easily while making it fun to learn about math concepts.
There are even written explanations for the parents to help explain and answer questions regarding the concepts. It is just what they need to help them prepare and master the skills needed to excel in the 3rd grade.
Using fun and interactive books is a great way to increase your child’s level of interest in Math. Increasing the level of interest makes it easier for them to master the skills and actually want to learn more. It adds focus, problem-solving skills, and concepts that will help them master the skills of the 3rd grade.
6. Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late
Bedtime story turned a learning experience
Makes math a fun part of everyday life
Provides over 100 math riddles
Includes three different levels of learning
Provides meaning riddles that context math concepts
The age range on concepts is really broad
Does not provide any parents tips
The Bedtime Math Series mission is to make math a fun, everyday part of kids’ lives. This book has multiple questions that allow families to explore math as a group activity right before the kiddos drift off into dreamland. The questions are divided by difficulty so you can practice challenging everyone’s skills and no one feels bored. There are over 100 math-based riddles, including ones about jalapenos, submarines, flamingos, and roller coasters. And if your children like this one, you can check out the other Bedtime Math books for future reading endeavors! Everyone will have sweet, scholastic dreams with these fun narrative adventures.Read more
The mission of this book is to make every part of learning math fun. The mission has been completed! It takes a bedtime story and turns it into a learning opportunity. Many kids often complain that they are not good at math. This book can completely turn that around for them.
It takes fun math problems and teaches kids how to tackle them with riddles. It includes three different levels of math challenges. This makes it fun for the whole family. It takes numbers of nightmares and turns them into number dream puzzles.
This book is a great way to provide kids with a meaningful context to be able to apply to mathematical concepts making it fun and easy for them. It takes numbers, fun, and concepts and brings it all together to allow them to excel in math skills.
7. Mastering Essential Math Skills Grades 4-5
Includes teachers/parent guide as a separate book
Teaches math concepts in 20-minute lessons
Contains illustrated step by step guides
Short and easy lessons
Provides meaningful and knowledgeable math examples
Includes only a problem workbook and answer book
All instructions and guides are online or videos
For the older kids, Mastering Essential Math is a challenging, easy-to-understand breakdown of math skills typical for grades 4 and 5. This book applies the principle that a simple 20 minutes a day of practice helps kids get comfortable enough with math that they start to feel confident. If you buy and ship from Amazon, the 3rd Edition comes with a video tutorial for each and every lesson. The ten chapters include decimals, fractions, whole numbers, ratios, percents, proportions, geometry, integers, charts and graphs, probability and statistics and word problems.Read more
Learning math in only 20 minutes a day is what this book can do for your children. It provides an illustrated guide for parents on how to successfully use the book to teach math to your children plus it also has pre-tests and tests to test their knowledge.
It is a structured and guided process that gives parents all the skills and knowledge to be able to successfully teach their children math skills. There are lessons that are short and exciting making it is for them to master and maintain the math facts taught to them. If you are looking for a book to help your children with math or teaching them math in home schools this is just the perfect book.
Models math in interesting and knowledgeable guides that provide both parents and students everything that is needed to become a successful math student. The guides and lessons are short and easy to learn to make it fun and exciting to work through each one.
8. Bedtime Math: This Time It’s Personal
Fun, funny application of Math
Great for lots of levels
Is enjoyable over and over again
Colorful, beautiful illustrations
Some parents felt the “wee one” questions are too easy
Bedtime Math is back with This Time, It’s Personal! This adorably, silly math adventure features math games and activities that all revolve around hilarious questions and concepts such as pillow forts and sneeze speeds, overfed pets, and underwear! Help your little scholars drift into sweet, sweet dreams with this nightly ritual. There’s enough diversity in the challenges that the whole family can join in on the fun: young and old, alike!Read more
The problem with math is often just that no one is doing it any favors in the way they brand and explain the subject. Math can inspire fun, foundational discussions about many aspects of the world around us. Bedtime Math aims to make math relatable by applying it to silly and understandable concepts that appeal to children.
Each page features the same layout. It starts out with a silly discussion and then moves to several math questions that increase in difficulty. This way all ages can participate and no one feels bored with the level set.
This is perfect for kids who are around 3-4 years old. It appeals to older children as well but in this edition, the company has made sure to include a “wee ones” challenge that specifically targets math skills preschoolers are likely to be familiar with.
9. School Zone Addition & Subtraction 1-2
Develops key skills needed for essential math concepts
Provides hundreds of math fun facts
Aligned with Common Core State Standards
Lesson placed in learning sequences
Promotes critical thinking skills
Promotes basic skills, essential math concepts
Thin book with only 64 pages
School Zone has created a sea of swell activities and lessons all surrounding addition and subtraction principles appropriate for grades 1 and 2, or ages 6-8. Like all School Zone activity books, it features 63 pages of activities and one certificate at the end that you can customize to congratulate your little one on finishing their book! The bottom of each page even identifies the skill being exercised so parents can discuss with their kids what they’re working on!Read more
Developing key math skills that your child understands is key to their success throughout their academic career. Many kids find math stressful and have a hard time learning the concepts. This book takes learning addition and subtraction easy. It displays hundreds of fun math facts that make learning fast, fun, and clear. The step by step instructions makes it easy for them to follow the concepts plus give them a progressive set of objectives to aid in their success.
Each workbook contains the Common Core State Standards on the bottom of the pages. They have planned out lessons that build on each other page after page. If you are looking to introduce or review essential math skills this is just the book you have been looking for.
Promoting critical thinking is a concept that needs to be thought to our children to ensure their success throughout life. Math concept books are a great way to promote critical thinking skills. This book is laid out in a manner that allows each concept to be built upon the concepts before that really natures that problem-solving skill.
10. Scholastic Pre-K Jumbo Workbook
Includes lessons for multiple skills (i.e. handwriting)
Certificate of completion
Link to educational online games included
A large book (300 pages)
Some tear out pages are front/back
Instructions may be difficult
We know that achievements reinforce the behavior a child does in a positive way. When that behavior is completing an education-related goal, the reinforcement is especially helpful. This book includes stickers and fun activities to reward the learning experience. We like that the book including these built-in rewards make it easy for parents to reinforce the excellent behavior without the need to come up with something externally. We also appreciate that this book rewards completion with an achievement certificate.Read more
Scholastic has a fantastic reputation for creating educational children's books. For decades Scholastic has been the leader in children’s book publishing. Their mission is to encourage the growth of children beginning with literacy. Working towards that goal, this workbook covers a variety of topics including; math, handwriting, and early reading skills.
The book is designed to keep children’s interest by including stickers, physical activities, and tear out pages. Once the book is completed there’s an achievement certificate as a reward. We knew that these features combined with Scholastic’s fantastic reputation meant this workbook deserved a spot on our list.
This workbook was created to improve the kindergarten readiness for preschool-aged kids. The book has 300 pages of activities in the subjects of early math and reading. Besides the educational benefits of completing these activities, the book encourages further learning by including fun features like stickers.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Kids are naturally resistant to all things boring. If something is boring, they’ll avoid it with all their power. Since our ultimate goal is to cultivate a positive relationship between the child and math, it makes sense to start with fun. Every children's math book on this list was chosen because it was written with fun in mind. That’s also why we have a mix of formats--storybooks, hands-on activity books, math textbooks, and workbooks. You can literally choose a couple books off this list and have enough material to help your child learn while still enjoying the process. What makes a book fun? Most kids don’t find textbook-style problem-solving fun.
What makes a book fun? Most kids don’t find textbook-style problem-solving fun. They enjoy brightly colored pictures and interactive experiences. What makes it fun for kids is also often what makes a book fun for parents. It’s the chance to enjoy the story and activity while also being challenged. Clearly what is fun to a 5-year-old is not to a 99-year-old. Besides differences in age, each child is unique. They may not respond favorably to an activity simply because another kid their age did. With this in mind, we encourage you to review each book on this list with your child’s unique personality in mind. We know that the best chance for them to learn is by first being entertained.
Math is such a crucial aspect of our society that at one time America declared the lack of students' math skills to be an emergency. In fact, in the 1980s, schools raised the math requirements that students needed to graduate. The decision was made to get us out of the emergency state we were in. The goal was to increase high school graduates' readiness for careers and/or higher learning. At the time, the country was seeing a huge increase in technological advances with a large number of jobs remaining open due to a lack of qualified candidates. As a solution to the country's high school students being behind others in the developed world, changes were made. Besides increasing the number of math credits needed, the education system also introduced minimum competency-based tests.
In addition to the educational credits, a student would also have to pass a test with a sufficient score. This test represented the absolute minimum amount of math that a graduate would need to enter the job market. The change seemed to be successful since it was followed with average math literacy rates increasing.
One of the unfortunate negative results of the increase in requirements was that some students who find math difficult simply don’t finish high school. Since careers in STEM fields are growing even more rapidly today than in the 1980s, it’s easy to see why there is an increased focus on teaching preschool math
Your child’s ability to earn a living in a changing economy can only be helped by improved skill in mathematics. Children are also more flexible to new learning both physiologically and psychologically while they’re young versus in the teenage years. When you combine all these facts it’s easy to see why we would dedicate an entire list to books that will help your child learn math.
Since math is applicable to real life, we chose books that truly do teach kids. What makes a book educational is a combination of things. We know that kids learn through play so you’ll see some books on the list that use hands-on activities while others rely on imaginative stories. How much your child can learn from any of the books depends on the individual.
We encourage parents to create opportunities to practice the skills learned. This can be done simply by physically doing math problems with physical objects. Another way is by prompting them to ask questions that they can use math to answer. The best way to help kids retain the information they’ve learned is by using it frequently so talking about math daily is a great habit to have.
Other Factors to Consider
One aspect we were concerned with when creating this list is that the educational material was accessible. Parents are busy and though they’re the experts on their child’s ability level, clear age groups for educational books is important. Having an accurate age range allows parents to quickly skip over books that wouldn’t be applicable to their child. When children are given material that is too easy, they can become bored. On the other end of the spectrum, expecting a child to complete problems too difficult for their skill level may cause a loss of confidence.
A negative experience with math early on may affect their ability to remain optimistic about their math education. Since math is such a crucial subject for advancing in academia, it’s important that care is taken to avoid choosing books that aren’t a good match for your child. We realize that even with easily found age ranges there’s still a possibility that your child may not find the concepts a good fit. We encourage you to read our list plus any reviews made by parents with kids of similar age to yours.
As we curated this list, we knew that the authors chosen should be exemplary. Not only do we prioritize having great authors on our list, we knew that parents would appreciate it as well. The majority of parents aren’t math teachers and may not have even enjoyed the subject in school. So how are you supposed to know if one book is more educational over another? The answer commonly lies with the author. Many of those who wrote books on our list are accomplished in math themselves. Others don’t have the advanced degrees of an academic but make up for it in their life’s missions.
You’ll notice that most of the authors wrote more than one book teaching math to kids. We took this as a great sign of their dedication to the subject and audience. This list is not full of authors who hold doctorates in mathematics. Instead, it includes those who have demonstrated a love for teaching math that rises above college coursework. It is our sincere hope that through this list you will discover many more books by this group of talented writers.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can these books be used for homeschooling?
Since curriculum materials vary, the answer is that it depends. Every book on this list can ABSOLUTELY be used as supplemental material. In fact, when researching the titles we noticed that many reviews were by homeschooling parents doing just that.
q: How can I choose the right math level for my child?
Provide material that covers a variety of math levels. Start with the math that is easy for your child as they build confidence and progress to more difficult books.
q: How can we tell if these books are up to Common Core standard?
Many of the books included on this list are Common Core-approved. We listed that point under “Pros.”
q: Once my child learns a math concept taught in a book, how can I help them retain the information?
A great way to increase retention is to have a physical activity that uses the skill. You can also ask them questions after the book is done to prompt their use of the skill in everyday life.
q: Does every book on this list need to be read front to back?
That depends on the book. There are a couple of storybooks on this list that will only truly make sense if read in order. While others are more of a reference book like Mastering Essential Math Skills.
q: How do we know if a book is written by a qualified educator?
The author’s information is included on each product page. We also made an effort to discuss their qualifications on this list. Keep in mind that there is more to being qualified than an occupation.
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