Mathematician Books

At LMC we love using picture books during math class or incorporating math themed books into the reading block. This post is the first in a series that will highlight some of our favorite books to use with students.

In chapter two of her book Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You Had, Tracy Zager Johnson (join me in a summer Twitter book study at #becomingmath) discusses the need for children to learn about what math is, what mathematicians do, and what it means to be good at math. Teaching some math history or about mathematicians can be an important part of showing students how to persist in math.

Finding high quality books picture books about mathematicians is very difficult. In order to include some historical women I have included some who were fall under the STEM/science umbrella. While I love the book and movie Hidden Figures, I haven’t found a children’s version of the book yet.

My son (who is about to go into 2nd grade) loves the books The Boy Who Loved Math and Blockhead. I was afraid at one point that his 1st grade teacher would comment on the number of times these books showed up in his reading log. Both books have bright engaging illustrations, but I particularly love the graphics in Blockhead. Throughout the book are various mathematical elements to look for, examples of the Fibonacci sequence and spirals and hidden objects within the pictures.

Marvelous Mattie is one of my daughter’s favorites (about to enter 4th grade). She is rather obsessed with inventing things and experiments so when I found this book I was thrilled.  This book would also work as part of a social studies curriculum about work in the mills (cotton) and factories in the late 19th-century.

Are there any books about math or mathematicians that you love? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter #looneymath.


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