Math Book Magic Holiday List (2020)

For those still out searching for gifts, here some magical math books featured on our blog this year and toy/game pairings. Enjoy! Note: The Amazon Affiliate links are given in this post when you click on the title of the book. If in the future our site collects any money from these Affiliate links, all proceeds go to buying magical math books to share with others. *Support your local bookshops at . All the books below can be found there.

[Age 4-6] My Shape is Sam by Amanda Jackson and Lydia Nichols’s sweet story follows Sam’s journey to becoming the shape that suits him best. Is it a circle? A square? Or some shape in between? Read more here. Pair this with Hexagon or Rectangle puzzles from Talking Math with your Kids (if you can’t get your hands on them as they just came out in limited quantities, more coming in 2021). Talking Math with your Kids site also has beautiful wooden tiling shapes from pattern blocks to turtles. Lastly, here’s another shape toy recommendation by the inventor of the Hexagon or Rectangle puzzle, math educator Christopher Danielson.

[Ages 3-6] 1-2-3 Peas is a counting book from 1-100 by Keith Baker. Peas are scattered in lively scenes in and around the numerals for each number. There are different groupings and different costumes on many of the peas (the Peatles and Pea-oyncé even make appearances).   Read more here. Pair with the Tiny Polka Dots I game.

[Ages 3-6] Let’s Count Goats was written by author and educator Mem Fox and illustrated by Jan Thomas. This humorous and fun rhyming book invites children to identify and count a whole host of goats ranging in size, silliness, and profession. The question, Can we count the____goats? is posed throughout the book. Read more here. Pair with Tiny Polka Dots game or this cute adoptable goat from FAO Schwartz.

[Ages 4-8] Dozens of Doughnuts by Carrie Finison and Brianne Farley is a rhyming picture book about a doughnut-making bear named LouAnn. Each time Louann bakes a new batch of “One dozen doughnuts hot from the pan. Toasty, and hot, and ALL for–“. … We sit at edge of the page turn only to find out … they are NOT ALL for LouAnn. Friend after friend come by and LouAnn shares her doughnuts. The more friends that come, the more doughnut-sharing must be done, every time, leaving poor LouAnn with none! Read more here. Pair with these stackable donuts for the littles ones, this tic-tac-doughnut game, or a dozen of these or these sweet treats from Melissa and Doug.

[Ages 6-10] The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity: A Tale of the Genius Ramanujan by Amy Alznauer and Daniel Miyares tells the story of Indian mathematician Ramanujan as a boy through young adulthood.  In addition to introducing different mathematical objects and problems, The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity is the story of a child and young adult tirelessly persevering to do what he loved, share his ideas, and to be heard and understood.  Read more here. Pair this beautiful book with these equally beautiful and wonderful coloring books from Alex Bellos and Edmund Harriss here and here.

[Ages 8+] The Original Area Mazes: 100 Addictive Puzzles to Solve with Simple Math―and Clever Logic!  features area mazes puzzles created by Ryoichi Murakami and Japanese puzzle master Naoki Inaba. These puzzles have a sudoko puzzle feel. However, in addition to using logical thinking, Area Maze puzzles require two mathematical ideas over and over. The first idea is the area of a rectangle is length times width. The second idea involves the relationship between factors and multiples. More here. This book pairs nicely with the Prime Climb game.

[Ages 6+] Lastly, Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Saved Apollo 13, written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Tiemdow Phumiruk tells the story of Katherine Johnson, the mathematical genius who made sure that Apollo 13 returned home safely. Read more here and here. Even though this book appeared at the end of 2019, we read it again this summer during our physically distanced backyard Math Club and it pairs nicely our favorite Melissa and Doug floor puzzles. Also, get your #mathgals t-shirts here.

And if you are still unsure, here are some more lists:

  • Math Book Magic Holiday 2019 list
  • Here‘s a recent list of mathy book recommendations from Christopher Danielson
  • Children’s book author and librarian Betsy Bird’s list of top 2020 Math Pictures here
  • Here’s a great list of Stem Toys from Art of Problem Solving

Alright… I think that is enough lists for one list:)

Happy New Year all. More math book magic in 2021!


If you’d like to receive these magical math book posts every month, be sure to follow this blog in the side bar of this page. Thanks and see you soon!  Touch #mathbookmagic, pass it on.  

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