15 Picture Books that Help Build a Positive Mathematical Identity

Updated: Jun 23



There are so many excellent children’s books available that highlight people of all backgrounds and racial identities and their passion for the field of mathematics.


Exposing children to the mathematical lives of others who they can identify with on a human level - whether it is someone who looks like them, grew up in the same area, has the same religion, or some other connection - helps to position children to see themselves as competent learners and doers of mathematics. It is also important to remember that children need to know and believe that people who are different from them are also capable mathematics learners and doers. Read one of these picture books before going to bed or have it as a read aloud for your class.


  1. Counting on Catherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker

  2. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

  3. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

  4. A computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon by Suzanne Slade

  5. Bedtime Math Series by Laura Overdeck

  6. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

  7. Goodnight, Numbers by Danica McKellar

  8. The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman

  9. The Missing Money by Okeoma Moronu Schreiner

  10. The Girl with a Mind For Math: The Story of Raye Montague by Julia Finley Mosca

  11. The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca

  12. The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca

  13. A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman

  14. ABC's of Mathematics by Chris Ferrie

  15. Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe

Episode 2 of The Kids Math Talk Podcast discusses reading books as a part of Building Positive Mathematics Identity

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