Teaching Addition
with great children's books

If you're teaching addition to your children, check out these creative, educational picture books that make learning addition so much fun! These books make learning addition so fun!

Memorizing addition facts is the easy part of teaching addition. What is often more difficult for children is formulating the math problem from a real world scenario and/or seeing how addition is used in everyday life. That's where addition children's books come in handy. Teachers can use the books from this list to add a fun literacy component to their math addition lessons and parents can read these books with their kids to help reinforce what's taught in the classroom.

Either way, the learning will be so much fun! The list below of math books for kids includes links to buy the books on Amazon.  Or, to save 50% or more on math children's books, check out our list of SALE math books. 

1.  What's New at the Zoo? 
An Animal Adding Adventure by Suzanne Slade; illustrated by Joan Waites

What's New at the Zoo addition picture book

(Kindergarten - 1st Grade)  A visit to the zoo provides lots of opportunities to practice simple addition! Each spread presents a detailed zoo scene paired with a rhyme and number equation that leads the reader to solve an addition problem. When we read it to the class, we put post it notes over the equations and have the kids try to formulate it on their own (using whiteboards), then remove the post its to reveal the answer. That gives kids time to think about the addition first and do the math themselves.

Here's a few sample spreads. The first one reads "Four dusty elephants spraying water jets -- two calves join the fun. How many getting wet? " At the bottom is the equation: "4+2=?"

2.  One Is a Snail, Ten is a Crab
by April Pulley Sayre & Jeff Sayre; illustrated by Randy Cecil

One Is a Snail Ten is a Crab addition picture book

(Preschool - 2nd grade)  This very cute book is based on the simple but clever premise of adding the number of feet different animals have, alone or together. Starting with a snail (1 foot), the text moves to a boy (2 feet), a boy and a snail (3 feet), a dog (4 feet)... Then, after 10, the numbers move up in 10s (up to 100). It's great for teaching counting (even skip counting), +1 addition (different animals plus a snail), and +10 addition (different animals plus a crab).

Below are a few sample pages. The book starts out with easy addition  (ie: 4 +1=5):

Then it progresses through to adding tens at the end of the book, like in the example below:

3. Animals on Board
A MathStart series (level 2) book by Stuart Murphy, illustrated by R.W.Alley

Animals on Board

(Preschool - 2nd grade)  This cute book tells the story of a truck driver who keeps seeing vehicles drive past with all sorts of animals on board. As they pass, she adds up the animals on each truck. Finally, the mystery destination is finally revealed... they're part of a carousel! The story incorporates five single digit math problems, (3+2, 6+1, 9+0...), presented clearly enough for early first grade addition lessons.

This book is part of the fabulous MathStart series. We love their books! When we read this book to our class, we read the words aloud, but have post-it notes over the equation. Then, using whiteboards, kids take a minute to formulate and solve the equation themselves before we remove the post its. It's fun! :)  Below are two sample spreads:

4.  The Mission of Addition
a Math is CATegorical series book by Brian Cleary; illustrated by Brian Gable

The Mission of Addition

(Kindergarten - 2nd grade)  Kids love this cartoonish approach to teaching addition-- full of playful rhymes and super silly illustrations. Aesthetically, we don't love the over-packed, cartoonish illustrations, but kids definitely do. And that's a great thing, because there are dozens of books in this series, teaching both math concepts and language arts concepts. To see more books in the Math is Categorical series, just click the link.

Below is a sample page from inside the book. After defining what addition is, this book provides lots of different addition story problems, just like below:

5.  Quack and Count
written and illustrated by Keith Baker

Quack and Count adding story

(Preschool - 1st Grade)  A mama duck and her little ducklings experiences various little adventures in this picture book designed to teach simple early addition. On each spread, the seven siblings are grouped in different ways, showing the many ways to make seven.

This is a "deceptively simple" book that "introduces youngsters to addition in such an organic and merry way that they may not even notice how much they are learning." (Publishers Weekly) Baker's vibrant collages are spectacular! Kids will enjoy looking up close to see that it's all made from cut paper!

Named a National Council of Teachers of English Notable Children's Book!

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books for teaching addition