2020 Mathical Book Prize Award Winners - National Council of Teachers of English
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2020 Mathical Book Prize Award Winners

This post was written by guest author Fran Wilson. 


Looking for some new titles to foster a positive attitude toward math and the learning of concepts? The Mathical Book Prize announces these new award-winning titles.

The Mathical Book Prize honors books that inspire children ages 2–18 years old to discover math in the world around them. The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) awards this special prize in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. It is presented in coordination with the Children’s Book Council.

These titles are perfect for teachers looking for books that provide memorable context for the learning of math concepts, instilling a growth mindset, and inspiring interest in careers in math.

Read on for this year’s award-winning titles! 


2020 PreK Winner

One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller by Kate Read 

Children love seeing the big surprise that awaits this hungry, sneaky fox. Opportunities to count are on every page. Don’t worry—no hens will be eaten!



PreK Honor Books

Round by Joyce Sidman

Everywhere on Earth are round things waiting to be discovered. This title encourages young readers to go in search of round objects in their own world.

One Happy Tiger by Catherine Rayner

Children will enjoy counting along with a lonely tiger on an adventure to find friends .

Animal Shapes by Christopher Silas Neal

What happens when a cat meets a circle? It becomes a purrrrcle! Children love predicting what new object is formed when an animal is combined with a shape. Older readers will enjoy creating their own combinations.

2020 Grades K–2 Winner

Pigeon Math by Asia Citro, illustrated by Richard Watson

Some very active pigeons make it challenging for the narrator to tell a simple counting story. Readers are able to see and solve math story problems involving addition and subtraction as the pigeons fly in and out of the pages. Children love seeing equations in action illustrated through these whimsical birds and their antics.

Grade K–2 Honor Books

Is 2 a Lot? An Adventure with Numbers by Annie Watson

Here’s a book that makes readers really think about the value of a number. An ordinary car ride becomes a fantasy adventure as Joey’s mom answers his questions about what is “a lot”!

Count on Me by Miguel Tanco

A young girl goes in search of her passion . . . and realizes that it’s math! She helps readers to see that they are surrounded by math in their everyday lives. Her math notebook at the end of book can be used as a tool to explore concepts.

2020 Grades 3–5 Winner

Solving for M by Jennifer Swender

Mika is faced with some new challenges with friends and family as she starts fifth grade. Her teacher even wants the class to use math journals! Mika discovers that the journal can be used to solve more than her math problems.


Grade 3–5 Honor Book

DK Life Stories: Katherine Johnson by Ebony Joy Wilkins

The life of Katherine Johnson, who grew up as a young girl who loved math to be a mathematician at NASA, is highlighted in this middle-grade biography.

Grade 6–8 Honor Book

All the Above by Shelley Pearsall

Four students work to break the record for building the world’s largest tetrahedron at their school.

2020 Grades 9–12 Winner

Slay by Brittney Morris

Everyone sees Kiera Johnson as a math tutor, an honor student, and one of the few black students attending a mostly white school. Kiera has another identity: She is the creator of an online game. Readers will turn the page to see how Kiera reacts when a murder occurs as a result of a dispute over the game and when the game is labeled racist.

Hall of Fame Books

This year two books were recognized in the award’s Hall of Fame category for their long-term impact on encouraging math in children. They are Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton and One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi.


Fran Wilson was a member of the 2020 Mathical Book Prize selection committee. She teaches second grade at Madeira Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio.