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Books About Writing and Arithmetic

Six books that teach little learners to love reading and math.

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There’s no skipping out on learning writing or math in school, even if your child struggles, or just doesn’t love those subjects. But the way kids learn about these topics can change. Supplement their lessons with these books, guaranteed to make them see challenging concepts from a new perspective.

How to Write a Story

By Kate Messner; illustrated by Mark Siegel (Chronicle Books, 2020)

Guide young storytellers through the joys and challenges of the writing process. A companion book to How to Read a Story, this leads readers through 10 steps, from choosing a setting to creating a problem for the character to solve.

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I’m Trying to Love Math

By Bethany Barton (Viking, 2019)

This book opens with: “If you ask me, math is not very lovable,” cleverly placed near a pie chart showing how many Americans hate math. The pages that follow show how math is used in space exploration, baking, music, and other areas of life that are definitely not boring.

A Bunch of Punctuation

Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins; illustrated by Serge Bloch (Wordsong, 2018)

Learn grammar from the points of view of punctuation marks, in a land where the exclamation mark is the superhero and the comma lets you pause to enjoy the weather. Through a lively collection of poems by well-known poets, kids will learn what types of punctuation to use when they are writing.

100 Bugs! A Counting Book

By Kate Narita; illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2018)

Recommended by Denver Public Library children’s librarian Gigi Pagliarulo, this story demonstrates all the different combinations that can add up to the number 10. There are four ladybugs by the rafters and six ladybugs by the asters to make 10; then nine katydids by the woodbox and one katydid by the white phlox to make 10. Kids will be introduced to a variety of plant and flower names in the process.

Flibbertigibbety Words

By Donna Guthrie; illustrated by Åsa Gilland (Page Street Kids, 2020)

In a story inspired by the writings of William Shakespeare, young William opens his window and words fly in. When the words escape, a peddler suggests that the next time the words fly in William’s window, he use a pen and paper to capture them. Famous lines from Shakespeare’s plays are woven through the illustrations.

Dozens of Doughnuts

By Carrie Finison; illustrated by Brianne Farley (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2020)

LouAnn the bear makes dozens of doughnuts, and, one by one, her friends show up. She divides the doughnuts evenly among them, giving kids a delicious visual for math concepts with a bonus lesson on sharing.

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I’m Trying to Love Math: Penguin Random House. Punctuation: Boyds Mills Kane. 100 Bugs!: Macmillan. Flibbertigibbety Words: Page Street Publishing. Dozens of Doughnuts: Penguin Random House . How to Write a Story: Chronicle Books.

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