Problem Solving Picture Books for Math

Problem-solving picture books can boost your children’s understanding of how to solve math problems and enhance general problem-solving skills.

Both types of problem-solving involve deep thinking to recognize an issue and think through possible solutions to get to a resolution. We tend to call general problem-solving “logical thinking”. If you’re looking for information about that type of problem-solving, click here.

Mathematical Problem-Solving

In this post, we will focus on mathematical problem-solving. In math, you might need to literally solve a problem (or an equation) and need to figure out how to do that. Or, you might be faced with a mathematical question that isn’t so cut and dry as an equation. Sometimes, these are word problems, and other times they are intellectual challenges similar to the following:

“A farmer has pigs and chickens. In total, he owns 20 animals. If there are 54 legs, how many of each animal live on the farm?” (P.S. The answer is 7 pigs and 13 chickens.)

Luckily, there are some general strategies that tend to work well to get to any math solution before a child has the handy-dandy tool of algebra to help. They include:

  1. Examining the question to find key ideas.
  2. Choosing an appropriate strategy. (See below.)
  3. Doing the math.
  4. Rechecking to see if it worked.

There are a variety of wonderful strategies that can help depending on the problem at hand and the preferred learning style of a student. They include:

  • Making a list.
  • Drawing a picture.
  • Acting it out.
  • Making a model.
  • Making a table.
  • Identifying a pattern.
  • Writing a number sequence.
  • Solving a simpler, related problem.
  • Working backward.
  • Guessing and checking.
Picture books are a great way to illustrate problem solving!

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Lucky for us, there are plenty of problem-solving picture books that demonstrate the processes of problem-solving in a variety of ways through engaging stories and real-life examples. They can help a student who struggles with thinking beyond basic math equations to learn a new way of thinking on a deeper level!

Problem-Solving Picture Books

Alice in Pastaland: A Math Adventure (Charlesbridge Math Adventures)The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul ErdosClick, Clack, Moo Cows That TypeCounting on FrankEqual Shmequal (Charlesbridge Math Adventures)Jim and the BeanstalkThe Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, And The Big Hungry BearMath CurseOnce Upon a Dime: A Math Adventure (Charlesbridge Math Adventures)The Paper Bag Princess (Classic Munsch)The Poky Little Puppy (A Little Golden Book Classic)Rosie Revere, Engineer (The Questioneers)Sold!: A Mothematics Adventure (Charlesbridge Math Adventures)Spaghetti and Meatballs For All! (Scholastic Bookshelf)The Sundae Scoop (MathStart 2)


The Sir Cumference Series for Problem Solving

The entire Sir Cumference series is excellent for demonstrating how to think outside of the normal equation to reach important mathematical answers!

Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens: A Math AdventureSir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi byNeuschwanderSir Cumference and the First Round TableSir Cumference and the Fracton FaireSir Cumference Gets Decima's PointSir Cumference and the Great Knight of AnglelandSir Cumference and the Isle of Immeter (Math Adventures)Sir Cumference and the Off-the-Charts DessertSir Cumference and the Roundabout BattleBy Cindy Neuschwander: Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone: A Math AdventureSir Cumference and the Viking's Map


The Warlord’s Series for Problem Solving

I love the Warlord’s series for the same reason as the Sir Cumference series. In the same way, they are adventurous and engaging, too!

The Warlord's Alarm, A Mathematical AdventureThe Warlord's Beads (Warlord's Series)The Warlord's Fish (Warlord's Series)The Warlord's Kites (Warlord's Series)The Warlord's Messengers (Warlord's Series)The Warlord's Puppeteers (Warlord's Series)The Warlord's Puzzle (Warlord's Series)


Any of these books, along with teaching the specific problem-solving strategies listed earlier in the article, can be incredibly helpful to show children how to think mathematically and logically to solve intricate problems. If you have a favorite book to help with the concept of problem-solving, feel free to add it to the comment section!

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