SOURCE: Mathematical Sciences Research Institute

mathical logo

April 17, 2015 11:00 ET

Mathical: Books for Kids From Tots to Teens Inaugural Award Winners Announced

New Annual Prize Honors Books That Make Math Fun and Accessible for Children of All Ages

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - April 17, 2015) - The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) and the Children's Book Council (CBC) announced today the inaugural winners of a new youth book prize, Mathical: Books for Kids from Tots to Teens, honoring the most inspiring math-related fiction and nonfiction books. Mathical books help foster a love and curiosity for math amongst readers in grades Pre-K through 12. Winning titles, published in 2014, and honor books, published between 2009 and 2014 were recognized during a press conference at the Mt. Pleasant Library in Washington, D.C. The nonprofit First Book has also partnered with MSRI and CBC to make several thousand copies of Mathical books available exclusively to schools and programs serving children in need.

"When most people think about math, they think about numbers. But math is about so much more," said David Eisenbud, director of MSRI. "Math is about logic and patterns and it gives us tools to understand our world. Literature can be a powerful tool in helping children connect mathematical principles to their own lives."

"We are delighted to partner with MSRI on this first-of-its-kind resource that is aimed at exposing young people to the wonders and accessibility of math through books. Great stories that happen to promote or consider mathematical concepts may help demystify math for the many kids who are convinced they just can't do it, and build bridges toward new ways of understanding the world around them," said Jon Colman, executive director, Children's Book Council. 

The Mathical prize winners (published in 2014) are:


  • Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light

Grades K-2:

  • One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl

Grades 3-5 and Grades 6-8:

  • Really Big Numbers by Richard Evan Schwartz

Grades 9-12:

  • Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

The Mathical honor books (published 2009-2014) are:


  • Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett
  • Over in a River: Flowing Out to the Sea by Marianne Berkes

Grades K-2:

  • Zero the Hero by Joan Holub

Grades 3-5:

  • Bedtime Math: This Time It's Personal by Laura Overdeck
  • Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci by Joseph D'Agnese
  • Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic  Poems by J.  Patrick Lewis
  • Numbed! by David Lubar
  • The Rookie Bookie by L. Jon Wertheim and Tobias  Moskowitz

Grades 6-8:

  • Mathemagic! Number Tricks by Lynda Colgan
  • The Ice Castle: An Adventure in Music by Pendred Noyce

Grades 9-12:

  • The Unknowns by Benedict Carey
  • What Is Relativity?: An Intuitive Introduction  to Einstein's Ideas, and Why They Matter by Jeffrey Bennett

The following books were selected as Hall of Fame books:

  •  Alice's  Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found  There by Lewis  Carroll

The winners of the Mathical book prize were selected from a field of 175 titles from 50 publishers and were chosen by a selection committee comprised of the following experts:

  • Dr. Jordan Ellenberg (co-chair), professor of Mathematics,  University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of How Not To Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical  Thinking
  • Dr. Rebecca Goldin (co-chair), professor of mathematical  sciences, George Mason University and director,
  • Jon Scieszka (co-chair), creator of,  inaugural national ambassador for young people's literature and author of Math Curse and other  favorite books
  • Robin Adelson, former executive director,  Children's Book Council and Every Child A Reader
  • Betsy Bird, youth materials specialist, New  York Public Library system
  • Dr. David Eisenbud, director, Mathematical Sciences  Research Institute
  • Dr. John Ewing, president, Math for America
  • Dr. Herbert Ginsburg, professor of psychology and  education, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Jeff Goodby, co-chairman, Goodby,  Silverstein & Partners
  • Katie Hendrickson, teacher, Athens Middle School,  2014-2015 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow
  • Jeanne Petarra-Weeks, teacher, Cleveland Metropolitan  School District
  • Dr. Candice Price, assistant professor, Department  of Mathematical Sciences, United States Military Academy West Point
  • Gary Rubinstein, mathematics teacher, Stuyvesant  High School, New York City
  • Dr. Ivelisse Rubio, professor, Computer Science,  University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras
  • Liz Simons, president, Heising-Simons  Foundation
  • Dr. Joel Spencer, professor of mathematics and  computer science, New York University
  • Roger Strauch, chair, MSRI board of trustees  and chairman, The Roda Group
  • Dr. Kara Stern, director, Math for America New  York program
  • Dr. Suzanne L. Weekes, faculty member, Department of  Mathematical Sciences, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

The next awarding of Mathical will honor books published in 2015 and will be announced this fall. For more information about Mathical: Books for Kids from Tots to Teens visit:, connect on Facebook, or on Twitter @mathmoves or @cbcbook.

About the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI)

The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) is one of the world's preeminent centers for collaborative research in mathematics. Since 1982, MSRI's topic-focused programs have brought together emerging and leading minds in mathematics, in an environment that promotes creativity and the interchange of ideas. Over 1,500 mathematical scientists spend time at MSRI's California headquarters each year. MSRI is known around the world for the quality and reach of its programs and its leadership in basic research, and also in mathematics education and in the public understanding of mathematics. 

About the Children's Book Council (CBC)

The Children's Book Council is the nonprofit trade association for children's book publishers in North America. The CBC offers children's publishers the opportunity to work together on issues of importance to the industry at large, including educational programming, literacy advocacy, and collaborations with other national organizations. The CBC's members span the spectrum from large international houses to smaller independent presses, and the CBC is proud to partner with other national organizations on co-sponsored reading lists, educational programming, and literacy initiatives.

The following files are available for download:

Contact Information