14 Fiction and Nonfiction Books to Celebrate Pi Day

March 14th is Pi Day. From early readers who are still learning how to count to middle graders who might be ready to recite the first ten digits of this irrational number, Pi Day is a fun opportunity to get young readers excited about math. Here are 14 books to help mark the occasion.

March 14th is Pi Day, celebrated in honor of the first three digits (3.14) of the constant (π) representing a circle’s circumference divided by its diameter. From early readers who are still learning how to count to middle graders who might be ready to recite the first ten digits of this irrational number, Pi Day is a fun opportunity to get young readers excited about math. Here are 14 books to help mark the occasion.


covers of the first five books

Let's Add Up by Victoria Allenby. illus. by Maggie Zeng. Pajama. ISBN 9781772782486.
PreS-K–Simple math problems are lively and fun in this sweet picture book that shows all the different ways to add up to 10, then goes one step beyond, e.g., “6 pots + 4 pans = 10 dishes…or a feast!” The final equation shows how a group of nine friends can welcome one more and it’s a party! The children are an ability-diverse group: two wear glasses, one uses a wheelchair, and one has a hearing aid.

Too Many Pigs and One Big Bad Wolf: A Counting Story by Davide Cali. illus. by Marianna Balducci. Tundra. ISBN 9780735269910.
K-Gr 3–As if a parent is reading a deeply unsatisfying story to a child, whose countering comments appear in red, this version of the traditional story of the three little pigs opens in a few quick sentences. Not only a fairy tale with a comical twist, this is a unique story that features some fun math problems while always keeping the result of each page the same: wolf eats pigs. 

 PIgeon Math by Asia Citro. illus. by Richard Watson. The Innovation Pr. ISBN 9781943147625.
Gr 1-2–An unnamed narrator attempts to tell a story about pigeons. However, the number of birds keeps changing owing to different scenarios such as the presence of rain, insects, and even a cat. The story is told with a realistic, relatable tone and contains some simple math. A fun way to introduce young children to mathematical principles.

 Trillions of Trees: A Counting and Planting Book by Kurt Cyrus. illus. by author. Holt. ISBN 9781250229076.
PreS-K–This rhyming story playfully melds an often ignored counting concept—a trillion—with the importance of tree planting and preservation, while also introducing a great number of tree species to a young audience. The story’s illustrations are key to shaping the detailed beauty of the trees themselves and the idea of a trillion, a difficult quantity for kindergartens and first graders to conceive, into a concrete form as the characters plant different species of trees throughout their community, from their front yard to parks to riverbanks, fields, and slopes.

 Isobel Adds It Up by Kristy Everington. illus. by AG Ford. Random House Studio. ISBN 9780593178102.
PreS-Gr 3–Sprawled across her bed, pencil poised, Isobel, a mathematically minded young Black girl, is eager to add, subtract, multiply, and divide her way to completing her homework assignment. In her debut picture book, Everington delivers a story sure to inspire early elementary school students also beginning to learn basic math.


5 book covers

Counting in Dog Years by Betsy Franco. illus. by Priscilla Tey. Candlewick. ISBN 9781536201161.
Gr 1-3–A tinge of science fiction colors the everyday life of children in this collection. The poems cover topics from algebra and geometry to interconnected ideas, such as tessellations and base systems, in a way that builds on familiar concepts while exploring new ideas. School librarians looking for STEAM titles that pair silliness with educational topics in the style of Douglas Florian will love this fun, math-themed poetry collection that joins English language arts and mathematics as a dynamic duo.

Much Ado About Baseball by Rajani LaRocca. little bee. ISBN 9781499811018.
Gr 5-7–After moving to Comity, 12-year-old Trish Das worries about being accepted as the only girl on her baseball team. Making matters worse, Trish’s math puzzle competition rival Ben Messina plays on the same team. A relatable sports plot about rivalry, teamwork, and forgiveness is elevated by lyrical descriptive writing and the unique intersection of mathematics and nature in the book’s puzzles, which readers will be eager to solve.

RedReviewStar 7 Ate 9: The Untold Story by Tara Lazar. illus. by Ross MacDonald. Disney-Hyperion. ISBN 9781484717790.
K-Gr 3–Private investigator Al F. Bet relates a recent case history—the mysterious disappearance of Number 9. In search of some leads, the PI heads to Café Uno, and after interviewing a series of suspects and witnesses and having a generous serving of pi, he adds up the evidence in page after page of math-related wordplay. Readers will enjoy finding all of the math references hidden in the text and the art.

 Mammoth Math: Everything You Need to Know About Numbers by David Macaulay. illus. by author. DK. ISBN 9780744056112.
Gr 2-6–Macaulay lays out spread after spread of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, yes, but also Fibonacci sequence, scaling, Venn diagrams, Pascal’s triangle, telling time, magic shapes, rounding, estimates, data handling, codes, using a compass, and more. And it’s funny: if the goal is first to entertain, any browser will be quickly hooked. Most of the information in the volume is instantly digestible and absolutely unforgettable, and that’s saying something.

 The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy Mcanulty. Random. ISBN 9781524767570.
Gr 4-6–Twelve-year-old Lucy, a.k.a. Lightning Girl, has been homeschooled by her grandmother since she was eight; she’s been a math genius ever since she was hit by lightning and survived. She also lives with OCD and has rituals that revolve around the number three. If she does not perform them, the numbers of Pi string out in her brain. Lucy is a unique and endearing character who readers will not soon forget.


Final four Pi Day book covers

Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316089166.
Gr 5–8–In this outer-space adventure, Joss is the billions-year-old seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe. He's charged with delivering pies that contain "the fundamental forces of nature" in his home, "The Realms," which are located in dark matter. The thought-provoking quotes from a variety of great thinkers at the onset of each chapter and the subject matter make this a unique, mind-stretching title for science-fiction lovers, and the entertaining high jinks and evolving relationship between Joss and Annika give it an even wider appeal.

The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague by Julia Finley Mosca. illus. by Daniel Rieley. Innovation Pr. ISBN 9781943147427.
K-Gr 2–A picture book biography on the life and work of engineer and computer analyst Raye Montague. Shunted into a business degree when she had hoped to study engineering, Montague's first job out of college was as a typist for the Navy. She observed closely, took night classes, and, one day when the entire white male engineering staff called out sick, seized the opportunity to demonstrate her mastery by completing their tasks as well as her own. 

 One Is a Piñata: A Book of Numbers by Roseanne Greenfield Thong. illus. by John Parra. Chronicle. ISBN 9781452155845.
PreS-Gr 1–This companion to Green Is a Chile Pepper and Round Is a Tortilla makes learning numbers in English and in Spanish a fun fiesta for young readers. Through rhyming stanzas, children can count from one to 10, using bolillos, burbujas, paraguas, and calaveras along the way. Each number has its own theme, representing a year's worth of seasonal pastimes and festivals. The book is playful and fun to read and offers plenty of opportunities for bilingual vocabulary development, incorporating recognizable symbols of Latinx cultural heritage.

Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang. illus. by Mike Holmes. First Second. ISBN 9781626722767.
Gr 4–8–A mysterious school, transition to mastery, and an exciting new language run through this excellent graphic novel. But it's not magic wands that dictate the new characters' skills —it's coding. Readers will feel themselves thinking in a new way as they watch Hopper and Eni transform into coders on a mission, but the story never feels pedantic. The graphic novel format is effective and will appeal to everyone from computer lovers to reluctant readers to mystery fans.

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