The best children’s books about math and science

Who am I?

I’m a deeply curious person who has always loved the intersections of science and art, and the related intersection of the humanities and technology. I also have a passion for children’s books and have worked as both a writer and an editor, and as a developer of interactive apps and games based on children’s books. My latest book is a collaboration with one of my favorite childhood (and teenage) writing partners, Hena Khan. It’s an adventure where you get to make choices that turn you into a hero or a villain. It’s called Super You: The Power of Flight. I hope you’ll check it out!


I wrote...

How Many Jelly Beans?

By Andrea Menotti, Yancey Labat (illustrator),

Book cover of How Many Jelly Beans?

What is my book about?

How Many Jelly Beans? is a giant book of giant numbers! It’s an award-winning picture book that helps kids visualize what big quantities look like. Starting with ten, children work their way up to a thousand, then ten thousand, a hundred thousand, and finally, one million! These quantities take the form of colorful jelly beans spread out all over the pages. The final spread folds out like a big poster so all the jelly beans will fit! There’s even a little bit of division thrown in, when kids learn how many jelly beans they’d be eating per day if they ate a thousand jelly beans in a year. Numbers like this become so real for kids when they are colorful beans of their favorite flavors!

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder

Andrea Menotti Why did I love this book?

Full disclosure, I worked on this book as an editor. But it’s because of that experience that I know how hard the author/photographer and scientist consultant worked to tell this story in a way that was clear and fun for kids! I love reading it to my children and frequently give it as a winter-themed gift. I love the beautiful, through-the-microscope photos of the crystal shapes. I also like how the book clarifies the difference between snowflakes and snow crystals, since we very often refer to snow crystals as “snowflakes” – but they are too small for the eye to see from a distance unless they are clumped together. (The clumps are the “snowflakes.”) Such a fun winter read, and a great non-holiday-themed addition to any family’s winter book collection.

By Mark Cassino, Jon Nelson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Story of Snow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How do snow crystals form? What shapes can they take? Why do star-shaped snow crystals usually have six arms? Are no two snow crystals alike? These questions and more are answered inside this exploration of the science of snow, featuring photos of real snow crystals in all their beautiful diversity. Perfect for reading on winter days, this book by a nature photographer and a snow scientist will inspire wonder and curiosity about the marvels of snow. And for those inspired to collect and study their own snow crystals, there are snow-crystal-catching instructions in the back.


Book cover of A Seed Is Sleepy

Andrea Menotti Why did I love this book?

This book is that rare combination of poetry and nonfiction, art and science. Elegant and informative, the book features gorgeous realistic paintings that depict all kinds of seeds and the plants that grow from them. It’s the kind of book that you could sweep through in a bedtime reading session, and then later, find the child poring over the illustrations and asking questions. Such an important and eye-opening area of science to share with young children! 

By Dianna Hutts Aston, Sylvia Long (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Seed Is Sleepy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Award-winning artist Sylvia Long and author Dianna Hutts Aston have teamed up again to create this gorgeous and informative introduction to seeds. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, the book introduces children to a fascinating array of seed and plant facts, making it a guide that is equally at home being read on a parent's lap as in a classroom reading circle.


Book cover of The Lorax

Andrea Menotti Why did I love this book?

This book is a great primer for a budding young conservationist. It plants seeds for interesting conversations with (older) children about human impact on the world. Sensitive younger children may find it a bit dark, but that is where the conversations about “what could come next” (i.e. the truffula trees coming back) can help shine a light on a hopeful future if we make the right choices.

By Dr. Seuss,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Lorax as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

The Lorax is the original eco warrior and his message still rings loud today in this fable about the dangers of destroying our forests, told in the trademark rhyme of the irrepressible Dr. Seuss.

"Mister! He said with a sawdusty sneeze, I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees."

The Lorax is a hilarious and timeless story with the trademark humour and silly rhymes of Dr. Seuss, that packs a punch with its ecological message without feeling heavy-handed or worthy. The Lorax is the original eco warrior as he tries to save the Truffula trees from the greedy once-ler's…


Book cover of The Kid Who Named Pluto

Andrea Menotti Why did I love this book?

I didn’t want to leave older children out of this list. This book would make a fantastic gift for a child who loves science but considers themselves “too old” for picture books. This beautifully illustrated chapter book features children who followed their curiosities and questions to real discoveries that helped the world! A very inspiring read.

By Marc McCutcheon, Jon Cannell (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Kid Who Named Pluto as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A collection of profiles of children and young adults whose scientific inventions made an impact on the world, including Louis Braille who discovered a way for the blind to read and write.


Book cover of The Worst-Case Scenario: Mars

Andrea Menotti Why did I love this book?

For the oldest kids, I find this whole Worst-Case Scenario series to be so excellent! This one was developed with an expert consultant on Martian exploration, so it takes kids through the real choices they would have to make if they traveled to Mars. There is nothing like being in the driver’s seat, making life or death choices, to help someone really learn about a subject. This book will have them so stepped in Mars as they read, their fingertips will be covered in red dust! Well, almost!

By Hena Khan, David Borgenicht, Robert Zubrin , Yancey Labat (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Worst-Case Scenario as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this ultimate adventure, join the youngest crew of astronauts ever to make the trip to Mars! You'll be faced with real dangers and decisions, and your choices will determine your fate on the Red Planet. Will you achieve your mission and return home to Earth safely, successfully earning the title of the youngest astronaut to make it to Mars? Or will you be forced to turn back early? Only you can determine your own fate. There are twenty-two endings to this adventure, but just one will lead to the ultimate success.


You might also like...

Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World

By Sharman Apt Russell,

Book cover of Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World

Sharman Apt Russell Author Of Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Explorer Runner Mother

Sharman's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Citizen Scientist begins with this extraordinary statement by the Keeper of Entomology at the London Museum of Natural History, “Study any obscure insect for a week and you will then know more than anyone else on the planet.”

As the author chases the obscure Western red-bellied tiger beetle across New Mexico, where she lives, she explores a dozen other citizen science programs with lyrical prose, humor, and a profound sense of connection to place. Diary of a Citizen Scientist celebrates a renewed optimism in the mysteries of the world and a renewed faith in how ordinary people can contribute to science and environmental activism.

Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World

By Sharman Apt Russell,

What is this book about?

A critically acclaimed nature writer explores the citizen scientist movement through the lens of entomological field research in the American Southwest.

Award-winning nature writer Sharman Apt Russell felt pressed by the current environmental crisis to pick up her pen yet again. Encouraged by the phenomenon of citizen science, she decided to turn her attention to the Western red-bellied tiger beetle, an insect found widely around the world and near her home in the Gila River Valley of New Mexico.

In a lyrical, often humorous voice, Russell shares her journey across a wild, rural landscape tracking this little-known species, an insect…


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