Fun Books to Learn Geometry
I spoke with someone yesterday who asked how I can possibly teach my kids things that I don’t understand (she was making a lot of assumptions about the things I understand). I told her that I can go to the library and learn about anything under the sun. She balked at that. She told me that there was no way I could send a kid to the library to learn about something as complex as, say, grammar or geometry. Obviously, she and I have different views about using books for education! I gave her a list of several of my favorite geometry books for kids, and then realized I should share them here, too. These are affiliate links. If you purchase any of the books linked here, I’ll get a small payment in return. I highly recommend checking them out from your local library, though.
Today, I present my favorite books for teaching about geometry.
First up is one of my all-time favorites: The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns. If you want to help a child understand how circles are calculated, what certain shapes can be used for, and what to call shapes with different numbers of sides, this is the book. It’s fun. It’s cute. It’s funny.
If You Were a Quadrilateral by Molly Blaisdell and If You Were a Polygon by Marcie Aboff will help your children see the different types of shapes in every day objects and begin to recognize how geometry works in the world around them.
Once you have a grip on 2D objects, learn about some 3D objects with Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes by Stuart J. Murphy. Murphy has written a large number of fun math books as part of the MathStart series. I’ve enjoyed many of the books in this series.
Get into measurements with the series of books about Sir Cumference. Great for your kids who are into medieval history or Arthurian legends. Sir Cumference and the First Round Table introduces geometry terms in the names of its characters, like Lady Di of Meter, Geo Metry the carpenter, or the son named Radius.
When you’re ready for a full novel with ideas and characters taken directly from a geometry textbook, pick up a copy of Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions. I still remember reading this book in school, and finally understanding how some of those dimensional ideas worked. This one also hits on Victorian social issues, so you can read it as literature and history as well.
Playing with Tangrams, the ancient geometric puzzle from China? Check out the series of books starting with The Warlord’s Puzzle by Virginia Pilegard. These will give you a bit of history and geography along with renewed interest in mathematics.
Don’t forget about the Basher books! I find that parents and kids either love these because they’re cute and funny or hate them because they’re too cute and funny. We love them. They introduce difficult concepts as characters that perform certain actions, which is a great way to remember them.
When it’s time to introduce the Pythagorean Theorem, do it with a great picture book about Pythagoras as a boy. What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras? by Julie Ellis is complex math disguised and simplified in a well-illustrated story. My kids still remember the theorem and how it works thanks to this book.
And if your child already has a good grip on the basics of Euclidean geometry, introduce them to the idea of fractals with this awesome graphic guide. This helps make the concept a little clearer, since fractals are quite different from the Euclidean shapes (triangles, circles, squares) but are easy to see in real life. This is probably for your more advanced students, but a good reader will still get a lot out of the pictures and text.
I hope that helps you find some fun tools for learning about geometry! The more I research resources, the more I realize that are wonderful books on just about every topic out there. I love that. Happy learning!