Supporting Geometry, Spatial Sense, and Patterning

Books that use engaging pictures and stories to explore the math that exists all around us

With your support, young children are beginning to notice and describe the properties of objects all around them. The illustrations and stories in this collection support children’s natural curiosity about shapes, navigating space, and sorting the world into patterns.
City Shapes Book Cover

Be a Friend

City Shapes

Written by Diana Murray and illustrated by Bryan Collier, this book follows a child who discovers shapes of all kinds in their busy neighborhood, from rectangular skyscrapers to round drums.

Animal Shapes Book Cover

Animal Shapes

Written and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal, this book explores the silly and unexpected possibilities that can come from combining animals with common shapes.

Up Down Around Book Cover
Spatial Sense

Up, Down, and Around

Written by Katherine Ayres and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, this book uses position words to describe a garden that gets planted and then grows every which way.

Seven Blind Mice Book Cover
spatial sense

Seven Blind Mice

Written and illustrated by Ed Young, this book follows mice as they climb up, over, and around to each discover a small piece of a big mystery.
Bina's Bracelet inside page

Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers

Written by Rajani LaRocca and illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat, this book follows Bina as she tries to find the perfect patterns to make colorful bracelets for Raksha Bandhan, a celebration of brothers and sisters.
Pitter Pattern Book Page

Pitter Pattern

Written and illustrated by Joyce Hesselberth, this story follows Lu as she discovers patterns in her everyday life. Lu spots patterns in music, activities, and many other unexpected places.
Round is a Mooncake Book Cover

Ten Black Dots

Written and illustrated by Donald Crews, this book invites you to count along as dots appear and are arranged in new and creative ways.

Round is a Mooncake

Written by Roseanne Thong and illustrated by Grace Lin, this story follows a child as they explore shapes in their neighborhood, as well as the shapes in the food and traditions of their Chinese culture.
Sweet Shapes Book Cover

Sweet Shapes

Written and illustrated by Juana Medina, this story is filled with sweet and salty treats that take on the recognizable shapes of animals in a forest.
What Will Fit Book Cover
spatial sense

What Will Fit?

Written and illustrated by Grace Lin, this book explores the sizes and positions of fruits and vegetables as a child tries to find the perfect food to fit inside their shopping basket.
Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up her Wash Cover
spatial sense

Mrs. McNosh Hangs up Her Wash

Written by Sarah Weeks and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, this rhyming story shows the silly items that Mrs. McNosh hangs up in different places along her clothesline.
A Pair of Socks Book Cover

A Pair of Socks

Written by Stuart J. Murphy and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, this story follows a striped sock as it searches through colorful laundry to find the matching pattern of its pair.
Pattern Fish Book Page

Pattern Fish

Written by Trudy Harris and illustrated by Anne Canevari Green, this book is filled with patterned creatures who repeat their colors and sounds in their ocean home.

Exploring Early Math with Infants Through Books

Sharing books with infants helps set the stage for later math learning. We’ve highlighted six books especially for infants that explore mathematical concepts. These stories support fun and engaging interactions about math in our world.
An infant sits on the floor with an educator, and their mouth is open


Key Takeaways

Describe properties of shapes

Looking closely at drawings provides the chance to recognize shapes and their features. Point out shape properties like number of sides, angles, and length of sides.

Highlight positions in space

Illustrations provide opportunities for pointing out the spatial relations of characters. Talk about where things are on the page relative to other objects or characters.

Encourage comparing and contrasting

Through colors, repetition, and story, books give many chances to make comparisons. Noticing these similarities and differences supports the ability to create and extend patterns.