A Reading List: Math and Living Literature

20 Living Math Books

“I hate math!!!” Have you ever heard this from one of your children? Perhaps it was you yourself who you heard screeching in frustration. We want to introduce you to a new idea — Math Appreciation. Yes, really, “appreciation”.

If you signed your child up for piano lessons, would you sit her down to learn piano without first ever hearing beautiful music? Would you give your child a canvas and oil paints without first viewing beautiful art? We are suggesting you do the same for math.

Before introducing your child to complicated math lessons, build an appreciation. One way to do this is through living literature. Yes, there is a thing such as math lit — real books as opposed to textbooks. We are not saying textbooks are not important. They do have their place. However, it’s vitally important that they be approached with a love of learning if they are to have significant success.

Below is a math reading list from Homeschool Connections math instructor Jean Hoeft, MA. These are Jean’s favorites. If this list whets your appetite, scroll to the end for other math lit resources. Trust us, give it a try. You may just end up saying, “I love math!!!”

Maureen Wittmann
Mrs. Hoeft’s Top-20 List: Math Lit for All Ages


Grade School
Math Curse by Jon Scieszka 
How Much Is a Million? by David M. Schwartz
Grapes Of Math by Greg Tang
Middle School
Fantasia Mathematica edited by Clifton Fadiman

TheNumber Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

ThePhantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
The Book of Numbers by John Horton Conway and Richard K. Guy

High School to Adult


More math lit lists for you …

For the Love of Literature: Teaching Core Subjects through Literature by Maureen Wittmann

MacBeth’s Opinion

Living Math


Bonus: A Great Math YouTube Channel (Fun!)

Numberphile: You’ll see numbers a little differently after taking advantage of these videos. As always, with anything online, preview first.
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