Math Chapter Books and Story Collections

So sorry for the lack of a kids’ book list last Monday, I hope this selection of Math Chapter Books and Math Story Collections makes the wait worth it. Regular readers of this blog (Yay! Thanks for sticking around!) may be tired of hearing about my son’s passion for numbers. Naturally, he loves to read non-fiction math books but did you know there are lots of great math fiction chapter books and short stories where calculations play a central role in the story?

Math Chapter Books for kids: a list of more than 10 titles

So, with the help of my 8 year old, I’ve compiled this list of math chapter books and story collections where mathematical concepts are an important character. Best of all, even if your child’s favorite subject in school is art, all of the books make math accessible and tell a good story. {Note: as always, I’ve chosen these books based solely on my – and my son’s! – personal opinion. Affiliate links are included for your convenience should a book peak your interest.}


The Lemonade War.  Evan is people-smart and his younger sister, Jessie, is book-smart. Their sibling rivalry results in a summer contest to see who can earn the most money selling lemonade. Throughout the book both business and math calculations play an important role, but they never overwhelm what is essentially a story about a sibling relationship. Also Available for Kindle.

If you are familiar with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation which raises money to fight childhood cancer, you may be interested to know that it sponsors The Great Lemonade War, inspired by Davies’ book in which schools compete to raise money. If you think your school would like to participate, you can find out more on their official website.

Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School. Fans of the zany humor in Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories from Wayside School
will enjoy the crazy take on mathematics in these two books. You know you’ve entered a strange school when your teacher can explain in mathematical terms how “she x he = sass.” Each chapter acts as a very short stand-alone tale that centers around a logic problem requiring math skills. They are pretty wacky, but also quite clever (and frankly, challenging!). The books also include clues and solutions to each problem-puzzle.

7 x 9 = Trouble! and Fractions = Trouble!. These two books were on my list of Early Chapter Book Series about Boys. Third grader, Wilson is embarrassed that he struggles with math in school. He dreads timed tests and fears his friends will find out he has a tutor. There is much comic relief in the form of a hamster! My son loves these books and has reread them over and over. Also Available for Kindle.

The Candy Corn Contest.  In this installment of The Kids of Polk Street School series, the action centers around a contest to see who can guess the number of candy corn in a teacher’s jar. As you might expect there is much discussion about estimating. However, like the rest of the series, the story also deals with kids overcoming their insecurities and learning the ropes of being a good friend. Also Available for Kindle.

The Toothpaste Millionaire. The practical side of math is highlighted when sixth-graders Rufus and Kate decide to invent a superior toothpaste, sell it and make their fortunes. First published 40 years ago, Jean Merrill’s book (she also wrote The Pushcart War) is still a highly entertaining celebration of the imaginative spirit. After reading this book, don’t be surprised to see your kid start up a new entrepreneurial endeavor using his or her math skills!

The Math Wiz. This is a book you can find on my list of stand-alone early chapter books for boys. 3rd grader Marty looks at everything in his life as a math equation to be solved. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be able to solve his P.E. problem with any recognizable formula. The text includes pictures of the creative ways Marty sees the world in mathematical terms. Also available for the Kindle.

The Phantom Tollbooth. Oh, you thought The Phantom Tollbooth was just about grammar and word play? Don’t forget Milo and Tock visit Digitopolis, chat up a Dodecahedron and explore curious mathematical concepts like infinity with a Mathematician. Also available for Kindle.

The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure. This is an odd sort of book, translated from the German, but my 8 year old declared it a winner. 12 year old Robert has trouble with math and each night in his dreams he meets the Number Devil who  helps him understand various mathematical concepts, some of which are quite advanced. Illustrations are in color, which is unusual for a chapter book and math concepts are visually displayed. Also Available for Kindle.


The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat, Further Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat and Fractals, Googols, and Other Mathematical Tales. Pappas’ books each contain short tales narrowly focused on a particular mathematical concept. You name the concept, there’s a explanatory story about it. The books include side notes, copious diagrams,  thorough explanations as well as suggested activities. These are terrific books for math-obsessed kids but are also very useful for children who might need some help understanding a particular concept. Also Available for Kindle (although many of the reviews indicate the Kindle versions have numerous scanning errors).

The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures. In ancient Arabia, Beremiz Samir dispenses his mathematical wisdom to solve problems, give advice and to inspired admiration wherever he goes. Math concepts and the history of important mathematicians weave through the adventures of one man during his travels.

I would love to know if you have any other favorite fiction books which feature mathematics! Do your kids like math?
Sidenote: I’m trying something new with my book collages! Do you like the old format above, or the photo below? (Pretend the right books are in the photos – some of them I had to return to the library and I made the photo last minute!) Just curious. Everyone seems to have a collage these days, so I’m trying to keep things fresh. What’s your opinion?

Disclosure: Purchases made through links in this post may earn this blog a small commission (at no cost to you!) Including such links underwrites my kids’ book addiction and supports the time it takes me to make these lists for you.

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  1. nicole says

    I find that the Madeline L’Engle series focuses on mathematical big ideas “greatness” “smallness” …

    Also, love the Math Quest Books, Mansion Mazes, Museum of Mysteries, Planet of Puzzles.

    And What’s Your Angle Pythagoras?

    • Erica says

      Nicole, I can’t believe I forgot about A Wrinkle in Time! Of course that is an excellent suggestion!!! And wow, thanks for further titles to check out. My son will be delighted.

  2. says

    You might also like A Grain of Rice by Helena Claire Pittman for your list. It’s about exponential numbers. And Clare Vanderpool’s newest book, Navigating Early. A story that wraps Pi into an adventure tale of two boys.

    • Erica says

      Thanks, Amy. I’m not sure what I’ll keep doing. Maybe both! And then, of course, I don’t even have the right books in the photo. :)

  3. says

    My youngest loves the Lemonade War series!

    I like the collage at the top – told me at a glance what you’d be covering. It’s kind of like “face out” at the bookstore compared to the bottom photo. :)

    • Erica says

      Yes, the collage communicates the list contents better. I’m trying to find a way to be different from all the other collages! But I guess collages are popular for a reason!

  4. says

    These books are so unique. I love your lists because I am always lost at the library. I can’t wait to read these math stories and make my daughter even more interested in Math! Thanks.

  5. Deanna Straub says

    Thanks for this great list! Another great chapter book that I use each year with my third graders is Lunch Money by Andrew Clements. My children really understand higher level math concepts such as converting fractions to decimals and percentages just from the problems that present themselves in this book. I highly recommend it!

    • Erica MomandKiddo says

      Deanna: thanks for the tip. So funny because my son just read that book last week! I haven’t read it myself yet, but now I will and add it to the list.

  6. says

    My 5-year-old has developed an interest in math recently. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions of books geared more to her age group – although I’m sure she would enjoy some of these if I read them to her. We recently read the (picture book) biography of Paul Erdos and she loved that. It has a nice introduction to prime numbers.

  7. Carol says

    Any good books that are more focused on girls and math??? Sixth thru Eighth grade girls that are gifted and smart really struggle at this point in their life…a good book or suggested role model mathematician would be good to read about….

    • Erica MomandKiddo says

      Carol – That is an excellent question. Sophie Simon Explains Them All is about a girl who is super smart at math, but may be better for 3rd – 5th graders. There’s always A Wrinkle in Time. In the Lemonade War it is the sister, not the brother who is the math wiz. I’m going to ask my social media channels if anyone has any recommendations, so check back here in a day or two.

    • Erica MomandKiddo says

      Carol — here are some responses I got: Chasing Vermeer, My Life in Pink & Green, Millicent Min Girl Genius,
      Short Seller by Elissa Brent Weissman. I’m not familiar with any of these books, but I hope they help you.

  8. Marion Stade says

    I am truly enjoying all of the ideas you have posted about. Pinterest has made me dread clicking on those links. Now you must sign in to see much of anything. This comment is not to make you change anything, it is just a “heads up” that now you must sign in/ sign up to see much of anything. I wish I could just see you favorite picture math books on your blog.

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