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For Families » Math-Oriented Books » Number Sense

Books Related to Number Sense

For all readers:

Arithmetic E
by Carl Sandburg, illustrated by Ted Rand
Harcourt Young Classics [April 1993]
ASIN: 0152038655

Mathematics Subject: Number Sense

Carl Sandburg playfully uses language to talk about numbers and making sense of them. In this edition, the illustrator has used anamorphic images (distorted pictures) to illustrate some of the rather slippery mathematics kids encounter every day. There is also a mirror-like sheet that can be used to “decode” the illustrations and directions on making anamorphic drawings on your own. Read “Arithmetic” online.

The Borrowers
by Mary Norton, illustrated by Beth Krush and Joe Krush
Odyssey Classics Reissue edition [September 1989]
ISBN: 0152099905

Mathematics Subject[s]: Measurement & Geometry, Number Sense

Scale, proportion, and comparison are all part of this tale about a tiny family called the Clocks. Living in a wall of a full-sized family home, the Clocks live up to their reputation as Borrowers, taking items from the household around them for their own purposes. This intricate symbiosis continues swimmingly for some time – until one of the Clocks reveals herself to a new boy who has moved into the house. Other titles about the Borrowers from the same author include The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, and The Borrowers Avenged.

Counting on Frank
By Rod Clement, illustrated by Rod Clement
Gareth Stevens [1991]
ISBN: 0836803582

Mathematics Subject[s]: Measurement & Geometry, Number Sense

A truly curious boy and his dog Frank are the main characters of this story – filling their days by exploring questions such as, “If I ran the bathtub until the room filled up with water, how long would it take?” The boy even uses Frank as a standard for measuring things they both encounter. Frank and the boy make the “what if”s happen with panache. Laugh along with them as you explore measurement, the metric system, and other things mathematical.

One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale
By Demi, illustrated by Demi
Scholastic Trade [April 1997]
ISBN: 059093998X

Mathematics Subject[s]: Number Sense, Probability & Statistics, Data Analysis

In this retelling of a classic folktale, a young girl outwits a greedy rajah. Her reward? Simply this: she asks for a grain of rice a day, doubled every day for thirty days. Her cleverness results in even greater rewards: her starving village gets more than a billion grains of rice and the rajah himself learns a lesson in fairness and humility—all because one person knew about numbers and the way they work together.

Number Stories of Long Ago
by David Eugene Smith
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [1997] Stock # 577
ISBN: 0873534085

Mathematics Subject[s]: Mathematical Reasoning, Number Sense

The Story-Teller entertains a group of children (including one young lady known as The Tease) with eight stories that connect mathematics, history, and human nature. One chapter, for example, tells how Leonardo of Pisa, Cuthbert Tonstall, and Johann Widman all played roles in the development of multiplication. The last two chapters in the book contain math puzzles and riddles that deal with fractions, exponents, rules for divisibility, and number sense concepts, with explanations about ways to solve them. Originally published in 1919, the book was written by mathematician David Eugene Smith, a distinguished mathematics historian and educator. Its stories still ring true with readers today.

The Phantom Tollbooth
by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer
Random House [1993] [Original Copyright: 1961]
ISBN: 0394815009

Mathematics Subject: Number Sense

A very bored Milo finds that a tollbooth has mysteriously appeared in his room on day. He drives through it simply because he has nothing better to do, entering into a fantastic world replete with witches, princess, and a number pro called The Mathemagician, where word play is king. In such a bizarre framework, even the most complex mathematical thoughts become child’s play as readers learn how to make sense of decimals, fractions, and other mathematical concepts.

Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money
by Amy Axelrod, illustrated by Sharon McGinley-Nally
Simon & Schuster [1994]
ISBN: 0689812191

Mathematics Subject[s]: Number Sense

The Pig family is out of groceries and pretty hungry. So they scour their home and all it’s furnishings, looking for enough money to dine out. But, when the get to the Enchanted Encillada, will they have enough to afford the tab? Readers follow along as the Pigs uncover money, add it up, and make their choices from the menu at their favorite Mexican restaurant. The answers are all in the illustrations, but the question is, which number on the page is the right one? Other books in this series, all devoted to mathematics, include Pigs on a Blanket, Pigs in the Pantry, Pigs Go to Market, and Pigs at Odds: Fun with Math and Games.

Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! A Mathematical Story
by Marilyn Burns, illustrated by Debbie Tilley
Scholastic [September 1997]
ISBN: 0590944592

Mathematical Subject[s]: Algebra, Measurement & Geometry, Number Sense

The Comfort family is having a dinner—with 32 guests! Just where will they sit? With Mr. Comfort in the kitchen, Mrs. Comfort carefully plans and determines that they’ll need eight square tables with four guests at each. But what happens when the guests arrive and want to put the tables together? Or what to do when only 31 chairs are delivered? By the time you finish reading, not only will you know the answers to those problems, but you’ll also be able to spell out the difference between perimeter and area as well.

For more experienced readers:

Imaginary Numbers: An Anthology of Marvelous Mathematical Stories, Diversions, Poems, and Musings
by William Frucht
John Wiley & Sons [September 1999]
ISBN: 0471332445

Mathematics Subject[s]: Algebra, Mathematical Reasoning, Measurement & Geometry, Number Sense, Statistics, Data Analysis, and Probability

Imaginary Numbers: An Anthology of Marvelous Mathematical Stories, Diversions, Poems, and Musings is an intriguing title for a collection of equally intriguing works by a variety of noted authors, both past and present. Touching on a variety of basic and modern mathematics, these works by the likes of Edwin Abbott, Lewis Carroll, Italo Calvino and others offer something for every reader and skill level. As editor William Frucht offers, “Using mathematics to tell stories and using stories to explain mathematics are two sides of the same coin.”

The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures
by Malba Tahan, illustrated by Patricia Reid Baquero, translated by Leslie Clark and Alastair Reid
W.W. Norton & Company [February 1993]
ISBN: 0393309347

Mathematics Subject[s]: Mathematical Reasoning, Number Sense

In this Arabian Nights-style book, readers travel through the Middle East and see how one Persian sage uses mathematics to solve family disputes, thwart dangerous enemies, and win the heart of the princess. Brazilian mathematician Julio de Melo e Sousa first offered the book in 1949, claiming he had translated it from the works of math genius Beremitz Samir. This fictional character is indeed a mastermind, cleverly using number sense and mathematical reasoning to right the wrongs he finds in his world.

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