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7 Captivating Children’s Books About Graphs and Data

As teachers, we know how important it is to read to our students, but did you know that read alouds can also be a powerful tool for teaching mathematical concepts? It’s true! In fact, I have an entire blog post where I share 5 ways to incorporate math read alouds into your instruction.  If you are looking to captivate your learners during your math block, specifically when teaching about graphs and data, read on to learn about 7 of my favorite children’s books about graphs!

This post contains affiliate links. You can see my disclosure here.

Sharing about math read alouds is one of my favorite things to do! If you’d like to get a sneak peek at what’s inside some of these children’s books about graphs, check out my YouTube video below!

#1: The Best Vacation Ever by Stuart J. Murphy

The first of my favorite books about graphing is by my favorite math read aloud author, Stuart J. Murphy. His MathStart series is my go-to for children’s books about math. In the back of each of his books, he shares ideas for adults and kids to use to have more fun with the book and math concept. He shares teaching ideas, activities, and more, which is a great feature of his books.

The Best Vacation Ever is the perfect book to introduce students to the concept of collecting data. The writing style of this book is engaging and kid-friendly for young learners to follow.

This book is about a family that wants to go on vacation, but they have no idea where to go. The main character surveys members of her family with questions that can help them pick the perfect spot for their family vacation, such as if they should go somewhere hot or cold. She tracks the answers from each family member on a data chart. After asking several questions, she uses the data she collected to choose the perfect vacation spot for her family.

In this read aloud, kids get a great visual representation of what collecting data looks like and how it can be used in real-world situations that they can relate to. This book is great for having mathematical conversations about how they can turn that data into a graph.

#2: Lemonade for Sale by Stuart J. Murphy

The next children’s book about graphs and data is also by Stuart J. Murphy, and it’s called Lemonade for Sale. This story incorporates bar graphs with the concept of money and financial literacy.

Throughout the book, the characters are on a mission to fix up their old playhouse that is falling apart. They need to make money to make the repairs, so they decide to open a lemonade stand to earn money. To keep track of their earnings from the lemonade stand, they create a bar graph to show the amount of money earned each day. This makes it easy for them to see which day of the week they made the most money and which day they made the least amount of money.

On the days that their sales were lower, the kids have to work together to problem-solve and figure out why. They come up with a plan that just might help their lemonade sales so they can fix up their playhouse.

I love that this book shares graphs with increments over one, which makes it perfect for 2nd and 3rd graders. Lemonade for Sale teaches kids how to create, read, and interpret bar graphs to make informed decisions.

#3: The Great Graph Contest by Laureen Leedy

The next children’s book about graphs is from another one of my favorite math authors, Laureen Leedy. Her book, The Great Graph Contest, includes captivating non-fiction and real-world examples for creating various types of graphs.

Throughout the book, the characters use different types of graphs to represent data including bar graphs, pie charts, line plots, and pictographs. They also learn about the different ways to represent data visually and how to choose the best type of graph for that information.

In the back of the book, she shares different types of graphs that you can make from various pages of the book. For example, on pages 24-27,  the characters from the book survey customers who bought plants and flowers. They ask the buyers what they plan to do with their new purchase, such as planting it, giving it away as a gift, or eating it (the characters are animals, so this makes sense). They take the data they collected and make a pictograph based on the results.

I love this book because it’s a fantastic tool for helping students understand how to represent data, choose the best type of graph for their information, and interpret the data presented in the graph.

#4: Tiger Math by Ann Whitehead Nagda

The book, Tiger Math, is another great non-fiction book that uses real life examples of tigers to teach kids about graphs and data. The storyline follows a group of researchers studying tigers in the wild. Throughout the book, the characters collect data on the tigers, such as their weight, length, and age.

They use this information to create different types of graphs such as line plots and bar graphs. This book introduces concepts such as estimation and prediction, as the researchers use their data to make informed predictions about the tigers’ behavior. It also includes examples of comparing data, such as when the researchers compare the weight of two tigers and how that would be represented visually on a graph.

The illustrations in this book are realistic and include real life photographs of tigers in different environments, which helps bring the story to life. I recommend this book because it’s an excellent resource for teaching students about multiple subjects such as math, science, and literacy.

#5: Less Than Zero by Stuart J. Murphy

As I mentioned, I LOVE all of Stuart J. Murphy’s children’s books about math, so it’s no surprise that books 5 and 6 are also by this author! The book, Less Than Zero, incorporates the concept of negative numbers along with creating line plots, making it a great book for 2nd and 3rd grade students.

In the story, Perry the Penguin needs to earn 9 clams in order to buy the ice scooter he’s always wanted. The problem is, he’s not great at saving his clams. Throughout the book, Perry earns, spends, finds, borrows, and loses clams left and right. This is represented visually with a simple line plot that shows Perry’s “profit and loss” with clams, which is a great visual way to introduce the concept of negative numbers as well.

#6: Tally O’Malley by Stuart J. Murphy

Tally O’Malley is another one of Stuart J. Murphy’s MathStart books about graphing. In the story, the O’Malley family is headed for the beach. On their long, boring, and stifling hot drive, the 3 children in the family stay busy by playing tally games! They count and tally up different things they see on their trip, such as gray cars, green T-shirts, etc. By the time they reach the beach, whoever has the most tally marks wins this fun roadtrip game!

I love that this book incorporates the concept of collecting data through tally marks, giving students more exposure to real-life situations in which tally marks would be helpful. Plus, the illustrations in this book are hilarious and are sure to make your students laugh along the way.

#7: Tally Cat Keeps Track by Trudy Harris

The last of my favorite children’s books about graphs is Tally Cat Keeps Track! This is another great book that breaks down the concept of using tally marks to collect data.

The main character is an alley cat who loves to tally, named Tally McNally. Throughout the book, there are a ton of silly contests in his town, such as who wins the most races, who is tallest, who can climb the most trees, etc. No matter what the contest is, Tally is somehow always the winner.

Then one rainy day, when competing in the “wettest cat” contest, Tally McNally gets in a bit of trouble and it’s up to his friends to save him!

This is a silly story that will have your students on the edge of their seat while gaining exposure to the concept of tally marks.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about these 7 children’s books about graphs and data. You can find all of them linked in my Amazon store here. These books are perfect for incorporating into your graphs and data guided math lessons.

Check out these Graphs & Data resources!

Do you have another book about graphing that you love? Comment below and let me know so I can check it out!

If you’re looking for more math read alouds to use in your classroom for various skills, check out these blog posts:

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