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.

Banana for Two

Mother with baby
Illustrated by: Ying-Hwa Hu
Age Level: 0-3
Language: Chinese, Hindi, Hmong, Punjabi, Somali, 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

My Hopi Toys
Illustrated by: Emmett Navakuku
Age Level: 0-3
Language: English, 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

Illustration of city traffic
Illustrated by: Carll Cneut
Age Level: 0-3, 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.

Count Me In! A Parade of Mexican Folk Art

Ceramic folk art from Mexico
Illustrated by: The Aquilar Sisters
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

Join the parade and count from one to ten in Spanish and in English. Numbers and a one-sentence description of the ceramic figures in regional dress from Oaxaca, Mexico are presented in both languages, punctuated by lively folk art figures.

Count to Love!

Illustration of a baby
Illustrated by: Brian Pinkney
Age Level: 0-3

Count to love on fingers and toes. // 1-2-3-4, touch your nose! Snuggle up with your little one to celebrate sweet baby love! With bouncing, rhythmic text from New York Times bestselling author Andrea Davis Pinkney and warm, winsome illustrations from Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator Brian Pinkney.

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

Illustration of child hitting a pinata
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!

Island Counting 1 2 3

Island Counting 1 2 3
Age Level: 0-3

On this island, there are many things to count! Here the three hilltop houses are painted in tropical hues, the five market ladies wear shady hats, the nine limbo dancers sway on a sunny beach, and the ten wildly dressed children celebrate carnival time.

Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book

Illustration of skeleton talking with family
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish vocabulary featured

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

Illustration of a polar bear under water
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

A diverse group of children in a canoe
Illustrated by: Grace Lin
Age Level: 0-3, 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

Children under a pinata
Illustrated by: John Parra
Age Level: 0-3, 3-6
Language: English, Spanish vocabulary featured

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

Photo of panda family
Age Level: 6-9

Meet Hua Mei, a baby panda born 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 Little Birds / Diez Pajaritos

Ten Little Birds / Diez Pajaritos
Illustrated by: Sara Palacios
Age Level: 0-3, 3-6

Count to 10 and back again with Latin Grammy Award-winning children's musical duo 123 Andrés in this bilingual board book! The popular song from 123 Andrés' Latin Grammy Award-winning album is cleverly and beautifully brought to life in this bright, bouncy board book! Each of the 10 birds is given a fun and silly personality, and children will love to follow along as each flies away — and escapes a lurking kitty!

Uno, Dos, Tres: One, Two, Three

Paintings of the words "Uno, Dos, Tres"
By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Barbara Lavallee
Age Level: 0-3
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

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

Illustration of young owls
Age Level: 0-3, 3-6
Language: Cree

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.

Winter Walk in the City

A young child walks through the snow
Illustrated by: Melanie Hall
Age Level: 0-3

Take a walk through the city in winter and experience the sights, sounds, colors, and smells of the multitude of different holidays we celebrate this season. From Hanukkah and Christmas to Mawlid al-Nabi and Chinese New Year, everyone has a reason to celebrate. With simple rhymes, a counting pattern, and stunning papercraft art reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, this diverse board book is the perfect introduction to the cultural melting pot that makes the city so special.