Storytelling Math: Celebrating Math, Diversity, and the Power of Storytelling

With support from the Heising-Simons Foundation, TERC has released Storytelling Math, a new series of books for young children that celebrates math, diversity, and the power of storytelling.

Released this week, Storytelling Math’s initial six books feature children using math in their daily adventures as they play, build, and discover the world around them. A seventh book will be released in December, with five more to follow in 2021. All are set to be produced in English and Spanish.

Joyful stories and free online activities make it easy for children and their grown-ups to explore everyday math together. Each book includes notes for families that highlight the math ideas in the story and provide inspiration for related, at-home math explorations. Authors, illustrators, and characters represent an array of racial and ethnic populations, to reflect the diversity of our country’s storytellers and math learners.

Storytelling Math is led by Marlene Kliman at TERC, a nonprofit dedicated to STEM education, in partnership with Alyssa Pusey at Charlesbridge, a leading publisher of children’s books.

In a recent blog post about Storytelling Math, Kliman wrote that, “we hope [the books] make an impact on several levels: sparking mathematical thinking, learning, and conversation among readers; giving the public a broader vision of math picture books; and perhaps even prompting other publishers to follow the Charlesbridge lead, offering picture books that are mathematically rich as well as beautiful, lyrical, broadly appealing, racially diverse, and written by authors of color.” Read her full post here.

On October 24, Charlesbridge will host a Storytelling Math Symposium on YouTube, bringing together authors, illustrators, educators, librarians, and education experts interested in learning more about the creation of this book series, the importance of representation in children’s literature, and connections between math and culture. Register here.

And, if you can’t wait until then to learn more about the creation of these stories, spend a few minutes with two Storytelling Math authors. In this video, Ana Crespo, author of “Lia and Luís: Who Has More?”, describes how her childhood in Brazil inspired the mathematical idea at the heart of the story. Also, in a recent interview with Horn Book, author Grace Lin detailed how a frustrating search for books for her infant daughter planted the seed that grew into four Storytelling Math board books.

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