Books that Make Math – MATHICAL!

Books unlock new worlds for readers of all ages – and for some students in the Oakland, California area, those new worlds are MATHICAL!

That’s because, thanks to support from the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), 93 educators in the First Book Network from California’s Alameda County received credits to subsidize the cost of purchasing Mathical Book List titles from the First Book Marketplace.

The credits enabled educators to select titles that were honored in 2020 as Mathical Award Winners and newly chosen Mathical Honor Books. The prize recognizes inspiring math-related fiction and nonfiction books for children ages 2-18. This year’s collection included One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller, Slay, All of the Above, Count on Me, and D.K. Life Stories: Katherine Johnson. Other popular favorites available through this partnership included titles ranging from The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Phantom Tollbooth, to Secret Coders, Hidden Figures, and more!

In addition to the math-related books, educators could download free reading guides for select titles to enrich student learning and fully engage them in their Mathical experience, and enable adults to feel more confident in highlighting the use of math in the stories through discussion questions and interactive exercises.

The Mathical titles were critical resources for some educators who were adjusting their teaching and learning plans to accommodate COVID-related school closures. Lynette Nielsen, a 3rd grade teacher at Eden Gardens Elementary in Hayward, told us, “We all love the books. I was able to share Count On Me with several teachers over four grade levels and we shared them with our classes on Zoom. It was a beautiful way to weave social emotional learning with math. I loved the math notebook at the end which demonstrated how art and math are so easily integrated. I plan to revisit the book and touch on different aspects of it over the coming weeks and months. It also makes a big difference that the characters looked more like my students and their diverse ethnic backgrounds. Thank you!”

The Mathical Book Prize is awarded by the Berkeley, California-based MSRI, in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and in coordination with the Children’s Book Council (CBC). The prize is generously supported by the Firedoll Foundation and the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation.

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