The Mathical Book Prize aims to inspire a love of mathematics in the everyday world in children of all ages. Each year’s winners and honor books join a selective and ever-growing list of new and previously published fiction and non-fiction titles for youth.
These titles are as varied as the intersection between literature and mathematics — that is to say, they encompass picture books, novels, poetry collections, puzzle books, biographies, and more!
The Mathical selection panel is drawn from librarians, teachers, mathematicians, early childhood experts, and others. The jury selects winners in five grade-level categories: PreK, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.
Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI)
The Mathical Book Prize is awarded by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in Berkeley, California. MSRI is one of the world’s preeminent centers for collaborative research in mathematics. Our mission is to advance mathematical research, foster talent, and further the appreciation and understanding of mathematics.
Our public programs aim to showcase the importance and beauty of math to the general public. MSRI strives to make mathematics accessible and exciting to those outside the field through the National Math Festival in Washington, D.C., sponsorship of Numberphile (YouTube’s most popular informal mathematics channel with over 3.2 million subscribers), film production for public television, and the Mathical Book Prize.
MSRI is supported by the National Science Foundation with additional support from other government agencies, private foundations, corporations, individual donors, and over 100 academic institutions. MSRI is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and it is not affiliated with any publisher or bookseller of Mathical award titles.
MSRI is pleased to partner with two of the United States’ premier professional associations for educators, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Members of each organization are represented on the Mathical Book Prize selection panel, and both organizations coordinate with MSRI to announce the competition results, share resources for educators, and promote Mathical award winning titles both online and at events throughout the country.
The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is the nation’s most comprehensive literacy organization, supporting more than 25,000 teachers across the PreK–college spectrum. Through the expertise of its members, NCTE has served at the forefront of every major improvement in the teaching and learning of English and the language arts since 1911.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) is the public voice of mathematics education, supporting teachers to ensure equitable mathematics learning of the highest quality for all students through vision, leadership, professional development, and research. Founded in 1920, NCTM is the world’s largest mathematics education organization, with 40,000 members and more than 200 Affiliates throughout the United States and Canada.
Children’s Book Council
The Mathical Book Prize is presented in coordination with the Children’s Book Council, the national nonprofit trade association of children’s book publishers in North America, dedicated to supporting and informing the industry and fostering literacy. The CBC is the anchor sponsor of Children’s Book Week, and is proud to partner with other national organizations on co-sponsored reading lists, educational programming, and literacy initiatives.
Mathical Book Prize Selection Panel
MSRI extends our sincere appreciation to the members of the Mathical Book Prize selection panels for their time and dedication to sharing their love of mathematics and books with young readers.
- 2021 Mathical Book Prize Selection Panel (Co-chairs: Betsy Bird and Dr. Candice Price)
- 2020 Mathical Book Prize Selection Panel (Co-chairs: Betsy Bird, Dr. Jordan Ellenberg and Dr. Rebecca Goldin)
- 2019 Mathical Book Prize Selection Panel (Co-chairs: Dr. Jordan Ellenberg and Dr. Rebecca Goldin)
- 2018 Mathical Book Prize Selection Panel (Co-chairs: Dr. Jordan Ellenberg and Dr. Rebecca Goldin)
- 2017 Mathical Book Prize Selection Panel (Co-chairs: Dr. Jordan Ellenberg and Dr. Rebecca Goldin)
- 2016 Mathical Book Prize Selection Panel (Co-chairs: Dr. Jordan Ellenberg, Dr. Rebecca Goldin, and Jon Scieszka)
- 2015 Mathical Book Prize Selection Panel (Co-chairs: Dr. Jordan Ellenberg, Dr. Rebecca Goldin, and Jon Scieszka)
Support for Low-Income Communities and Schools
MSRI and the Mathical Book Prize partner with First Book, which 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, including over 10,000 copies of Mathical award-winning titles. Educators working with schools and programs serving low-income communities can register with the First Book Marketplace to access many Mathical titles at heavily discounted prices, as well as grants and no-cost books through First Book’s National Book Bank.
MSRI also partners with the following organizations to share Mathical titles with communities around the U.S.:
The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) champions children’s museums worldwide since 1962. With more than 460 members in 50 states and 19 countries, ACM is the world’s foremost professional society supporting and advocating on behalf of children’s museums, and those who work at and otherwise sustain them.
Bookelicious promotes literacy by helping children find great books on topics they are passionate about. Its fun, child-friendly website, bookelicious.com, combines gamification, innovative personalization technology, and the expert knowledge of educators and reviewers to offer children a wide selection of high-quality, age-appropriate, personally relevant books they truly want to read.
Books for Kids creates libraries inside of preschools, Head Starts, and family homeless shelters in under-resourced communities because we know the difference that access to books can make in a child’s life. Their Library Specialists are experts at making reading both an educational and joyful experience for the children they serve.
Bring Me a Book provides book access to under-resourced children and families through partnerships with schools and community-based organizations to foster a love of reading, kindergarten readiness and learning to read.
Development and Research in Early Math Education (DREME) is a network of scholars across the country who collaborate to advance math teaching and learning in the early years (birth to age 8). Visit DREME for free, research-based resources that support the development of early math skills.
Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based, national, nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. Founded in 1989 at Boston Medical Center, Reach Out and Read’s 34,000 pediatric clinicians served 4.8 million children and shared 7.4 million books at 6,400 program sites around the country over the last year.
School Library Journal (SLJ) is the premiere publication for librarians and information specialists who work with children and teens. A source of quality journalism and reviews for more than 60 years, SLJ produces award-winning features and news coverage on: literacy, best practices, technology, education policy and other issues of interest to the school library and greater educator community.
TeachingBooks strives to enrich everyone’s experience reading children’s and young adult books with our original and curated literary resources. Their mission is to equitably give all readers insights and opportunities that deepen their understanding and joy of the books they are reading.
Critical Issues in Mathematics Education Workshop
From 2018-2020, the Mathical Book Prize awards announcement took place in conjunction with the annual Critical Issues in Mathematics Education (CIME) conference in Berkeley, California at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. This series of workshops addresses key problems in education today. They are designed to engage mathematicians, mathematics education researchers, and K-12 teachers as participants. We extend our thanks to the CIME organizers and participants for joining us to share and discuss each year’s winning titles, as well as strategies for use in the mathematics classroom and beyond.
We gratefully acknowledge the following people and organizations:
The Mathical Book Prize is made possible with support from the Firedoll Foundation and Joan and Irwin Jacobs.
The Firedoll Foundation, a private family foundation founded by Sandor and Faye Straus in 1998, helps non-profits “fight the good fight” for environmental conservation and justice, immigration and human rights, community development, Middle East peace, and support for those affected by traumatic brain injury.
Joan and Irwin Jacobs co-sponsor the Mathical Book Prize, as well as supporting initiatives promoting arts and culture, education, science, health, and medicine in the San Diego community and nationwide.