Version: 7


Principal Investigator: Marlene Kliman

Funders: The Heising-Simons Foundation

Other current TERC staff: Audrey Martínez-Gudapakkam, Valerie Martin 

Dates: 2016–2020

   The Storytelling Math project is publishing, disseminating, and communicating about trade storybooks that weave together mathematical themes, engaging storylines, and diversity. At the core of our efforts are two interrelated goals: 

  • Expand the mathematical content in trade storybooks for ages 0–5 to include often-overlooked topics that are critical to building mathematical understanding, including patterns, spatial relationships, measurement, logic, and mathematical vocabulary; 

  • Expand images and contexts of characters in such books, to reflect families from traditionally under-represented groups and give all readers an inclusive vision of mathematical thinkers. 


Current work involves: 

  • Collaborating with publisher Charlesbridge to develop, publish, and promote two sets of mathematical storybooks (four books for ages 0-2 and four for ages 3-6) for the trade market; 

  • Conducting workshops, webinars, and outreach to stakeholders including trade storybook authors and book selectors for literacy organizations, public libraries, and book reviews; 

  • Distributing books published as a result of our partnerships via literacy non-profits Reach Out and Read and Too Small To Fail. 

With conservative projections of 64,500 math-infused storybooks purchased by project end and at least 350 stakeholders participating in webinars and workshops, we anticipate that our efforts will help to re-shape national conceptions of what constitutes math for ages 0-5, who can do math, and ways in which parents and caregivers can organically support children’s math learning as part of story reading at home.  


Published books resulting from Storytelling Math efforts to date  

Banana for Two by Ellen Mayer
(Star Bright Books, 2018, available in English and Spanish)
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