School is out and summer has begun! While math textbooks may be left in the classroom, the summer months are the perfect chance to explore with Mathical Books! With Mathical award winners and honor books, there’s something for every reader — from graphic novels and thrillers for teens to picture books and beloved classics. Bring math stories along for the ride this summer!
We’ve highlighted some winners from our list which relate to summer and outdoor activities, from family outings to the beach or zoo, sports and games, or just tucking away to read while relaxing at home.
The 2016 Mathical Book winner for ages 2-4, 8: An Animal Alphabet by Elisha Cooper (Orchard Books, 2015) is the place to start! Where’s the math in an picture book of zoo animals? Our friends at TeachingBooks.net offer parents and teachers some great suggestions for engaging kids in the search for 8 of everything that can be found in the book’s colorful pages: “Of the handful of animals representing each letter of the alphabet, only one—in a range of poses and in some cases, species—is shown eight times. It’s up to readers to find the eight similar creatures on each page spread.”
Drawing a connection between zoo animals in as many ways as kids can come up with is a fun way to practice skills like pattern recognition and counting.
Traveling out of town for a summer family getaway? Try Max’s Math by Kate Banks, illustrated by Boris Kulikov (Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2015). Another 2016 winner, Max’s Math takes readers on an adventure with Max and his brothers as they go looking for problems to solve in Shapeville. (Why? “Because it’s fun!”) This story for ages 5-7 has colorful and imaginative illustrations that make finding shapes and numbers fun. Take Max’s Math with you on your next road trip, and your family can look for shapes along the way!
Score with Sports
Do you love sports and numbers? Check out 2015 honor book for grades 3-5, The Rookie Bookie by L. Jon Wertheim and Tobias Moskowitz (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2014), childhood friends with a love of sports and statistics.
This chapter book tells the tale of Mitch Sloan, a new kid whose “nerdy” love of statistics and making money isn’t winning any friends, until he starts to run a football betting ring at school. When the plan goes sour and Mitch loses his only friend, he tries his best to win back Jamie’s friendship by using his sports knowledge to help the football team.
Math + Magic
2015 honor book for grades 6-8, Mathemagic! by Lynda Colgan with illustrations by Jane Kurisu (Kids Can Press, 2011) teaches number tricks that will amaze friends and family. Did you know that many professional mathematicians discovered their own childhood love of math through puzzles and games? This book, filled with illustrations, instructions, and diagrams for performing math using cards, calculators, dice, and even plain old pen and paper – plenty to test out for yourself on hot summer days!
This Way to Infinity
2016 Hall of Fame book The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and illustrator Jules Feiffer (Penguin Random House, 1962) has been a summer reading classic for several generations.
The story of a boy named Milo, who “when he was in school, longed to be out, and when he was out he longed to be in” takes a quick turn into the surprising when an enormous box appears in his bedroom, containing a “GENUINE TURNPIKE TOLLBOOTH” and other helpful supplies. As Milo hops in to explore mysterious lands and puzzles to be solved along with Tock the dog, puns, wordplay, and adventure await!
What’s a summer vacation without a good beach read? For teens, the 2015 Mathical winner for grades 9-12, Elle Cosimano’s Nearly Gone (Kathy Dawson Books, 2014) is a thrilling murder mystery starring Nearly Boswell, who’s used to keeping secrets about herself, her family, and her paranormal gift. Her obsession with reading personal ads as she searches for information about her missing father leads her to discover cryptic clues that point towards the vicious attacks on students at her high school. A serial killer mystery that brings a girl’s skills at math and science to the forefront? Just the thing to bring a chill on a hot day.
For more suggestions, view the full list of Mathical award winners and honor books.