homeschool math

A Reading List: Math and Living Literature

“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 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 literature — real books instead of textbooks. We are not saying textbooks are not necessary. 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 literature resources. Trust us, give it a try. You may just end up saying, “I love math!!!”

~ Maureen Wittmann

20 Living Math Books

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

Sir Cumference and the First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky

2 X 2 = Boo!: A Set ofSpooky Multiplication Stories by Loreen Leedy

Middle School

Fantasia Mathematica edited by Clifton Fadiman

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott

A Gebra Named Al: A Novel by Wendy Isdell

The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures by Malba Tahan

The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Sphereland: A Fantasy About Curved Spaces and an Expanding Universe by Dionys Burger

Surreal Numbers: How Two Ex-Students Turned on to Pure Mathematics and Found Total Happiness: A Mathematical Novelette by Donald Knuth

The Book of Numbers by John Horton Conway and Richard K. Guy

High School to Adult

Magick,Mayhen, and Mavericks: The Spirited History of Physical Chemistry by Cathy Cobb

One Two Three…Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science by George Gamow

Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics by Robert Gilmore

The Cartoon Guide to Physics by Larry Gonick

Powers of Ten: About the Relative Sizes of Things in the Universe by Philip & Phylis Morrison

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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