Do you need a great read aloud for back to school? These math picture books are wonderful because they offer a great story and can also help facilitate math discussions with your upper elementary class! Here are my top five math books for the beginning of the school year for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. Click on the links below to see the books on Amazon (affiliate links).

Written and Illustrated by Jon Scieska and Lane Smith

This book is about a boy who thinks he has been cursed by his teacher! He starts to see everything as a math problem. My students are always very engaged by the colorful illustrations and find it funny that the character can only think about math!

Great For: Showing students that math is everywhere and real-world connections.

Questions to Ask Your Students: Where do you see math in your life? What could you point out in this room right now that relates to math?

Written By Deborah Heiligman Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

This book is about the mathematician Paul Erdos. It starts with Paul as a child and shows him growing into a world-renowned mathematician. My students love this book because they get to see a glimpse into what Paul’s life was like as a child and how someone becomes a mathematician.

They also enjoy hearing about the different types of math that Paul invented and are always shocked that mathematicians can create new types of math!

Great For: Introduction to mathematicians

Questions to Ask Your Students: What are some traits that made Paul a good mathematician? Why did so many people

want to work with Paul? Can we have some of those traits in our math class? Which ones?

Written and Illustrated by Bethany Barton

This book is about an alien who questions a human why they don’t like math! My students love this because it is super funny, makes math relatable, and validates those students who might not enjoy math as much as some other subjects.

Great For: Real-Life Math Connections. This book also shows that even if you have some negative feelings or assumptions about math, you might love more of it than you realize!

Questions to Ask Your Students: Did any of the math facts surprise you? How do you feel about math?

Written By Julia Finley Mosca Illustrated By: Daniel Rieley

This book is great for introducing a growth mindset. It is also wonderful for discussing stereotypes of mathematicians and dispels the myth that only certain people can be successful in math! My students love this book because it inspires them to keep trying, keep persevering, and realize that everyone is capable of achieving their dreams.

Great For: Introducing Growth Mindset, Persevering in Mathematics, Dispelling the myth that there are “math people”.

Questions to Ask Your Students: What are some things that Raye Montague had to overcome to become an engineer? How can we have a growth mindset in math class this year?

Written by Barbara Esham Illustrated by: Mike and Carl Gordon

This book is about a boy who would experience math anxiety when he took timed tests. My students love this book because it causes them to think about how they learn best and realize that everyone’s learning is different!

Great For: Discussing Learning Styles and Math Anxiety

Questions to Ask Your Students: How do you learn math best? What has helped you in the past? How would you like to learn this year?

BONUS!

Need another activity for the first week? Check out my math coloring books! They are great for students to work on in between activities or when they first come into the classroom! Need something for that dreaded indoor recess the first week? That would work great for that also!