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The Mathical Book Prize recognizes outstanding trade fiction and literary nonfiction written for very young children through teenagers.
Mathical books inspire a love of math by connecting with children’s interests, from magic, sports, art, music, and poetry, to biography, adventure, graphic novels, and of course, picture books for the very young.
A single title will be awarded the Mathical Book Prize annually in each of five grade-level categories each year. Additional titles may be named as Honor Books across the same categories:
• Grades K-2
• Grades 3-5
• Grades 6-8
• Grades 9-12
Books are chosen to support students’ pleasure reading by encouraging the independent pursuit of the joy, beauty, and power of mathematics in the world around us. Titles are suited for library collections, informal learning settings, and classroom studies.
Both literary merit and mathematical interest must be present for a book to be eligible for the prize. Creative approaches that embrace math as logic and problem solving, math as the finding of patterns, and math as critical and artistic thinking, are encouraged.
The 2020 Mathical Book Prize winners are below:
About the 2021 Prize Process
For the Mathical Book Prize:
- Only books published in 2020 will be eligible for the 2021 Mathical Book Prize.
- Both fiction and literary nonfiction titles may be submitted.
- Books must be intended for grades PreK-12.
- All books must originate with a children’s publishing company or division and must be published (not simply distributed) by a publisher incorporated in the U.S.
- Original paperbacks are eligible; paperback reprints are not. If a book is published simultaneously in hardcover and paperback, either edition may be submitted.
- Textbooks, workbooks, kits, and experiment-only books are not eligible.
- Books must be currently available in print in English.
- Spanish-language editions published in the U.S. simultaneously with English-language editions are eligible.
- Books translated into English are eligible.
- Publishers agree to share publicity materials (such as high-resolution cover images) for use in marketing of the winning titles, if selected.
Mathical winners have come from a wide variety of imprints and publishers, from the largest publishing houses in the United States to nonprofit mathematical organizations and university presses.
There is no submission fee for the 2021 Mathical Book Prize.
Do not ship any books until instructed to do so.
Due to delays in US mail access since the COVID-19 crisis, we are moving to PDF manuscript submission for this year only. You will be asked to submit one PDF copy of each title to an MSRI staff contact. The manuscripts will be held in strict confidence and utilized only for the purpose of Mathical Book Prize selection. MSRI will send uploading instructions to participating publishers in late September; publishers should begin to upload manuscripts as soon as they receive the instructions. Book manuscripts must be uploaded by October 7, 2020 to be reviewed.
The 2021 Mathical submission period is from September 4 through September 25, 2020.
Title selection will be made in January 2021, and the public announcement of the 2021 Prize winners is planned for a live online winners' event in mid-February 2021.
Publishers are eligible to submit up to 3 titles published in 2020 for consideration in the 2021 Mathical Prize.
About the Prize
Mathical titles invite children to see math in new and unexpected ways in the world around them. They are playful, inviting, suspenseful, fascinating, engaging—their qualities vary by their subject matter and age category. Through a well-told literary narrative, they open up new ways of seeing, understanding, and appreciating mathematics.
The selection panel looks first for literary quality; secondly, for well-presented books that contain substantial and inspirational math content; that are clear, accurate, and inviting in their approach to mathematics.
By analogy, in our schools we teach music theory and music appreciation. While many school curricula teach math as a theoretical subject, the Mathical Book Prize celebrates the appreciation of mathematics: its beauty, and its applications.
Publishers are advised to review the list of books previously awarded to gain a greater sense of eligible titles.
The Mathical Selection Committee is drawn from librarians, teachers, mathematicians, early childhood experts, and others nationwide. The jury selects winners in five grade-level categories: PreK, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.
The 2021 Mathical selection panel is co-chaired by Betsy Bird, Collections Development Manager at the Evanston Public Library system and former Youth Materials Specialist at the New York Public Library and Dr. Candice Price, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Smith College and co-founder of the website Mathematically Gifted and Black.
The 2021 Mathical winners will join an exclusive and ever-growing resource list that is promoted nationally among librarians, K-12 teachers, mathematicians, science and children's museums, national mathematics events for the public, and after-school programs for low-income students.
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) offers numerous opportunities throughout the year to highlight Mathical titles to educators, parents, and libraries. Mathical titles are featured on websites, social media, and newsletters of our partner organizations, bringing broad exposure to K-12 teachers of both English and mathematics; the prize is announced at a national conference of mathematics educators.
MSRI partners with First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides access to new books for children in need. To date, First Book has distributed more than 185 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. Over 10,000 copies of Mathical Prize titles have been distributed to educators serving children in need through this network.
Contact Kirsten Bohl, Mathical Book Prize coordinator, for more information: email@example.com or 510.499.5181.
The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), organizer of the Mathical Book Prize, is not affiliated with any publisher or bookseller of Mathical winning titles. MSRI is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.