# Math Fiction Books for Gifted Children

For those who love math and those who don't!

Everyone recognizes how important it is for children to learn math and understand mathematical concepts. Some kids are mathematically gifted and can pick up on math and math concepts quite easily. Other kids, including the verbally gifted, may have a harder time. Fiction books based on math are perfect for both kinds of kids. Verbally gifted kids will enjoy the stories, wordplay, and riddles in the books, and since the math concepts are presented in their favored method—verbally—they can find it easier to understand the concepts. Mathematically gifted kids will enjoy the stories; how many stories are about math? They will most likely enjoy them at younger ages than the recommended ages.

## The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat

Penrose is a cat who finds himself in a "number" of adventures. Well, more accurately, he finds himself in a number of number adventures. In each adventure, he encounters numbers or creatures (like a dragon) that help him understand math concepts. But these aren't simple math concepts like addition and subtraction. These concepts include a different number system (1's and 0's only) and fractals, and square roots. All kids will undoubtedly find it easier to understand more complex math concepts through these stories, but mathematically gifted kids will probably enjoy the stories before they are 7 years old.

## Math Curse

To those who aren't fond (and even maybe a little afraid) of math, the title of this book might suggest what they suspect—math is a curse. But that's not what the book is about at all. The book starts when the narrator explains that on Monday, the teacher (Mrs. Fibonacci) says, "You know, you can think of almost everything as a math problem." That statement turned out to be a "curse" because, starting on Tuesday, the narrator saw everything as a math problem. It begins at 7:15 on Tuesday morning when the narrator wonders if they'll be able to make it to the bus by 8:00. Kids who aren't so comfortable with math will see it's nothing to be afraid of; it's everywhere. Kids who love math will be able to relate to the math "problems," and no doubt come up with a few of their own! Ages 7 and up (But both younger and older kids will enjoy it)

## The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure

What would we do without the number zero? This book answers that question and more in a fun and entertaining "novel" format! Robert hates math, but with the Number Devil as his guide, he learns all about mathematical principles. Kids who love math will enjoy this book, and those who are not especially fond of math will look at it in a new way. How could they not with prime numbers known as "prima donnas," roots called "rutabagas, " and "unreasonable" irrational numbers?

## Multiplying Menace: The Revenge Of Rumpelstiltskin

I wish I had this book when my son was trying to learn the multiplication tables. It's not that he couldn't get it or had a poor memory. It was that he found memorizing the tables boring and pointless. He preferred learning in context, learning with a purpose. This book would have gone a long way to getting him engaged in learning those tables! Rumpelstiltskin returns to the kingdom he left ten years before to claim what he believed was his—the queen's firstborn child. That child, Peter, is now ten years old and after Rumpelstiltskin uses his magic walking stick to multiplying things that shouldn't be multiplied: rats, bugs...noses. So Peter agrees to go with Rumpelstiltskin, but he learns the magic of the walking stick and can get rid of those extras things Rumpelstiltskin created. Peter must multiply not just be whole numbers, but also by fractions. Ages 7-10 (although mathematically gifted kids will certainly enjoy the book at much younger ages)

## Sir Cumference and the First Round Table

This book is an excellent book for kids of all ages. Even adults will get a kick out of the story in this book. The events take place in King Arthur's kingdom. We know that King Arthur had a round table and that he had knights who sat around it. This story explains how "Sir Cumference" and Lady Di of Ameter searched for a better shape than a long rectangle for the knights of the kingdom to sit around. Ages 6 and up.

## Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi

This book has something for just about every type of gifted kid. It's about a math concept—Pi—but it's also a fantasy story, and it's full of wordplay. Just look at the name of the title character! The story revolves around a boy (Radius) who needs to find a cure for his father (Sir Cumference), who has been turned into a dragon thanks to a magic potion. But to find the cure, he has to use math. The book helps kids learn about Pi, but even those who know Pi will appreciate the story and the beautiful pictures. The book is aimed at kids ages 8-12. Even very young kids who aren't yet reading and aren't ready for Pi will enjoy hearing the story, and parents will enjoy reading it to them.

## The Grapes Of Math

Technically, this book isn't a fiction book. That is, it doesn't tell a story. But it does present math creatively and verbally. In a series of rhyming riddles, the author provides tips for fast addition. As the author says:

The challenge is to find each sum
WIthout counting one by one.
Why not count? It's much too slow.
Adding is the way to go!

On one page of the book is a colorful drawing—a school of fish, a "parade" of snails, grapes on a vine. On the opposite page is a riddle that provides a hint on how to determine the number of items without counting each one individually. It's entertaining since it's not just about counting the items but figuring out the riddle to get the addition tip!
Ages 7-10 years.

## A Gebra Named Al

The book is about a girl named Julie, who hated algebra—until she met Al the Gebra. Al takes Julie on a journey through the Land of Mathematics. Together with their Periodic horses, they encounter the Orders of Operations and Chemistrees that bear fruit resembling Bohr models. Supposedly for young adults, the math and science concepts in the book are fun and accessible to younger math and science lovers. The author, Wendy Isdell, wrote this book before she was in high school.

Carol Bainbridge has provided advice to parents of gifted children for decades, and was a member of the Indiana Association for the Gifted.

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