Version: 5


Principal Investigator: Marlene Kliman

Funders: Heising-Simons Foundation


Storytelling Math is an interdisciplinary collaboration focused on identifying, creating, and promoting exemplary math-infused storybooks for young children in our diverse society. At the core of our work are two intertwined aims:

  •  expanding the types of mathematical content available in trade fiction storybooks for ages 0-5 beyond the typical counting and shape recognition to include a wide range of content such as patterns, quantities, sizes, spatial sense, and logic;
  •  expanding the images of characters and families featured in math-infused books.

Project participants and advisors reflect a range of relevant perspectives including: writing, illustrating, and publishing storybooks; promoting math learning in service of equity and social justice; researching development of children’s mathematical thinking; and buying and marketing children’s books. Participants are engaging in constellation of activities designed both to build their own capacity and to serve as a basis for communicating more broadly about qualities of stellar math-infused storybooks to publishers, authors, illustrators, and the public at large. These include:

  •  creating manuscripts for fiction storybooks intended for trade publication;
  •  developing illustrations resonant with mathematical ideas appropriate for young children;
  •  identifying trade storybooks in press for ages 5 and under that feature characters of color are rich with mathematical themes that extend beyond counting and shapes;
  •  articulating for a variety of book-buying and book-creating audiences characteristics of storybooks that incorporate current understanding of development of children’s mathematical thinking, best practices in caregiver-child interactions, and perspectives that reflect U.S. family demographics.

Project participants as of March 1, 2017:

  •  Diego Chavez, artist
  •  Bernette Ford, author and children’s book editor
  •  Raquel Fornasaro, artist
  •  Ekua Holmes, artist
  •  Ellen Mayer, author
  •  Omo Moses, author
  •  Star Bright Books, publisher
  •  TERC: Marlene Kliman (PI), Audrey Martinez-Gudapakkam, Valerie Martin, Nuria Jaumot-Pascual, Déana Scipio