Cultural and Historical Math

Cultural Math, Foreign Language Counting,

Math History and Biographies

Note: These are just some of many readers scheduled in the Living Math History Lesson Plans. Booklists in printable .pdf format, and are graded into three levels. See lesson plan information.

Suitability comments on Main Reader Page        
= Our family's favorites 

Pre-K through Elementary

Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares z Murphy, Frank/Walz  2001 Number sequences/history
Can You Count Ten Toes? by Denis Roche, counting in 10 languages
Count Your Way Through Ireland by Jim Haskins/Kathleen Benson, there is a whole series of these books covering many countries
Dear Benjamin Banneker, Brian Pinkney - Another wonderful picture / biography for the younger set
The Five Chinese Brothers by Clair Huchet Bishop
Five Secrets in a Box  (Galileo), Nice story as if told by Galileo's daughter
Fly on the Ceiling, by J. Glass, A story about how the very messy French philosopher, Renâe Descartes, invented an ingenious way to keep track of his possessions.
GrandFather Tang's Story by Ann Tompert, Tangrams in a story
The History of Counting z  by Denise Schmandt-Besserat
How Big is a Foot? z  Myller, Rolf   1962   Size, measurement, story based on historical fact
How Did Numbers Begin? Sitomer, Mindel&Harry/Cuffari 1976 History of numbers Young Math book
Joseph Who Loved the Sabbath z Hirsh, Marilyn  1986 Comparable value (in the story, all the greedy man's wealth is converted into one jewel that he then loses). Jewish culture.
The King's Chessboard z Birch, David/Grebu  1988  Doubling exponentially. Based on historical tale
Knots on a Counting Rope by John Archambault, Reading Rainbow
Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer (Da Vinci bio for young)  Robert Byrd
The Librarian Who Measured the Earth z (story of Erastothenes), Kevin Hawkes, Beautiful book, illustrations, well written, wide age range appeal
Mathematicians Are People, Too V1 and MAPToo V2 zz Reimer, Luetta/Reimer, Wilbert  1990/1997  Math History through stories of mathematicians lives, very readable
Mathematics z by Irving Adler, nice tie in to basic programming, clean, uncluttered book
Mathematics (The World of Science) z Irene Fekete 1984 Very readable math history, oversize, great pics
Moja Means One, Swahili Counting Book Muriel Feelings, Caldecott Honor
Mummy Math : An Adventure in Geometry by Cindy Neuschwander, Bryan Langdo J Review
My Own Rhythm; An Approach to Haiku z Atwood, Ann, 1973 Haiku IS mathematical poetry, beautiful pics
Number Art: Thirteen 123s From Around the World by Leonard Fisher - beautiful book
One Leaf Rides The Wind: Counting In A Japanese Garden by Celeste Davidson Mannis, counting and haiku
Roman Numerals I to MM by Arthur Geisart
Science of the Past this is a series of books that feature math as well as science history. Titles include: Ancient Rome  Ancient Greece  Ancient China   Egypt   Mesopatamia   Early Islamic Culture 
Secrets in Stone : All About Maya Hieroglyphics z by Laurie Coulter, includes section on the Mayan number system, glyph template in the back, one sensitive reference to human sacrifice in the book you can edit out if reading aloud
The Seven Chinese Brothers Y Mahy, Margaret/Tseng, Jean & Mou-sien  1990 Cause/ effect/ relationship chains
A Shaker's Dozen by Kathleen Thorne - Thomsen
Something from Nothing z Gilman, Phoebe    1992  Size & perspective, very sweet story of growing up, Jewish culture
The Spider Weaver: A Legend of Kente Cloth  Margaret Musgrove, geometric patterns in nature and weaving, African folk tale
The Story of Clocks and Calendars : Marking a Millennium z Betsy Maestro, Beautiful illustrations, easy to understand
Tikki Tikki Tembo z Mosel, Arlene/Lent, Blair  1968 Time, comparison of size, classic tale, Reading Rainbow, yes I consider this math!
Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back by Joseph Bruchac, 13 cycles of the moon represent the changing seasons and the passage of time.
Two of Everything z Ulytoy Hong, Chinese Folktale, very cute, about doubling
The Wonderful World of Mathematics z Hogben, Larry 1968  Math history. Classic, great pics
Yellow Umbrella z by Jae Soo Liu Math in music, Japanese language

Upper Elem / Chapter Books
Archimedes and the Door of Science z Bendick, Jeanne/Berquist 1962 Math History. A Classic.
Isaac Newton and His Apple (Dead Famous Series, a fairly hefty and enjoyable bio)
The Ocean of Truth: The Story of Sir Isaac Newton McPherson, Joyce/Crisp, Tad  1997 Biography, Christian perspective. You may get it faster at
A Piece of the Mountain: The Story of Blaise Pascal  McPherson, Joyce/Robinson, Jennifer 1995  History. Story style biography Christian perspective

Middle School on Up
The Joy of Pi z David Blatner
The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures z Tahan, Malba, Chapter book, loosely based on the story of Khayyam, some stories are accessible to younger children, but portions are advanced
String, Straightedge and Shadow: The Story of Geometry z Diggins, Julia E./Bell, Corydon 1965 Geometry, math history. Classic back in print

Wooden Books:  Gorgeous illustrations!

   Stonehenge, by Robin Heath