Counting and Numbers: Books for Young Children

These books not only help young children learn to count but invite them to explore the ways we use math and numbers every day.

Related activities

For related activity ideas to counting, numbers, and math, see the following:

Growing Readers articles (also available in Spanish)

Reading Rockets Activities and Books

Family Tip Sheets from the Illinois Early Learning Project (also available in Spanish and Polish)

Related books

For more children's books on numbers and math, see Reading Rockets' themed booklists and the Books Count! Number Fun for Children from the Children's Cooperative Book Center.

Baby Goes to Market

By: Atinuke
Age Level: 3-6

Join Baby and his doting mama at a bustling southwest Nigerian marketplace for a bright, bouncy read-aloud offering a gentle introduction to numbers.

Banana for Two

Illustrated by: Ying-Hwa Hu
Age Level: 0-3
Language: Chinese, Hindi, Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp), Vietnamese

Mama, her toddler, and two stuffed bunnies turn a grocery store outing into an opportunity to talk, laugh, and learn a little math. As they fill their cart with items in quantities of one and two, Mama lets her baby hold them, connecting the familiar idea of one and two hands to concepts of one and two.

Celebrate My Hopi Toys

Illustrated by: Emmett Navakuku
Age Level: 0-3
Language: Hopi

"We know how to count. One lighting stick. Two dancing sticks" Celebrate my Hopi Toys written in Hopi and English by Hopi language teacher Anita Poleahla introduces counting skills to children with patterned text and colorful illustrations of Hopi toys by Hopi artist Emmett Navakuku.

City Lullaby

Illustrated by: Carll Cneut
Age Level: 3-6

From "10 horns beeping" to "2 bikes growling" a baby sleeps on. But when "… 1 bird begins to twitter," a smiling baby awakens! City sounds and sights abound in stylized illustrations and satisfying, rhythmic language of this cumulative rhyme.

Dale, Dale, Dale: Una fiesta de números / Hit It, Hit It, Hit It: A Fiesta of Numbers

Illustrated by: Carolyn Dee Flores
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

Mateo counts to twelve as he anticipates the fun he'll have at his birthday party. There will be family, friends and lots of goodies for the children: tops, marbles and even toy cars! But before the children can hit the piñata, they will sing the birthday boy a song and enjoy eating a delicious cake. And then Mateo will be "the happiest boy in the whole wide world," because he gets to swing at the piñata first with everyone cheering him on: Dale! Dale! Dale!

Feast for Ten

Age Level: 0-3

From one shopping cart to ten helping hands, the family shops, cooks, and then together shares a festive meal. Rhyming text and crisp illustrations show a warm extended family that brings joy to everyday activities.

Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book

Age Level: 3-6

What's an old woman to do when a skeleton comes to visit? Keep him waiting, of course, while busy doing things from 1 to 10, culminating in a festive birthday celebration. Lively language and illustrations make this original tale memorable.

My Arctic 1, 2, 3

Illustrated by: Vladyana Krykorka
Age Level: 3-6

From one polar bear walking along the edge of a huge ice floe to millions of berries ready for picking, My Arctic 1, 2, 3 takes young readers on a counting tour in the Far North. With the rich Arctic environment as a background, this classic not only provides small children with opportunities to practice their counting skills, it introduces them to the extraordinary animals that make the Far North their home.

One Is a Drummer: A Book of Numbers

Illustrated by: Grace Lin
Age Level: 3-6

The Chinese-American girl introduced in Round Is a Mooncake (2000) and Red Is a Dragon (2001, both Chronicle) counts her favorite things. In bouncy verse, she engages in activities with her multicultural friends and family…A glossary gives two-sentence explanations for the Asian elements, from Eight Immortals to mahjong tiles, adding versatility and ethnic interest to the book without intruding on its simplicity. — School Library Journal

One Is a Piñata: A Book of Numbers

Illustrated by: John Parra
Age Level: 3-6
One is a rainbow. One is a cake. One is a piñata that's ready to break! In this lively picture book, children discover a fiesta of numbers in the world around them, all the way from one to ten: Two are maracas and cold ice creams, six are salsas and flavored aguas. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal.

Panda Math: Learning about Subtraction from Hua Mei & Mei Sheng

Age Level: 6-9

In 2003, two giant pandas gave birth to Hua Mei at the San Diego Zoo. Hua Mei’s growth is chronicled using basic addition and subtraction while life with her parents at the zoo is presented on opposing pages. Clear photographs and straightforward text provide a fascinating portrait of these engaging animals while introducing math functions.

Ten Days and Nine Nights: An Adoption Story

By: Yumi Heo
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Follow a little girl as she and her family prepare for the new baby that will soon be joining them. And simultaneously, watch the girl's mother fly off to Korea, meet the new baby, and bring her home. Here is a child-centric look at the adoption process through the eyes of a soon-to-be older sibling.

Ten, Nine, Eight

Age Level: 0-3

This countdown to bedtime begins with "10 small toes all washed and warm" until one little girl is tucked snugly into bed by her loving dad. Richly hued illustrations, warmly detailed, combine with a straightforward text that holds up to multiple readings as well as careful examination.

Uno, Dos, Tres: One, Two, Three

Age Level: 0-3

Two girls go to a Mexican market to prepare for the celebration of their mother's birthday. As they gather what they need from one to ten, their excitement mounts. The rhyming, bilingual text combines with colorful, highly stylized illustrations to present a treat for eyes and ears.

We All Count: A Book of Cree Numbers

Age Level: 0-3

Product Description: We All Count: A Book of Cree Numbers provides insight into contemporary Cree life. It teaches Cree numbers and provides pronunciation. This board book is wonderfully illustrated by Canadian based Cree/Metis artist Julie Flett and makes Cree culture accessible to young readers.