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Home » Blog » Math » Books that Teach Place Value

Books that Teach Place Value

1st & 2nd Grade Math Skills, Math, Place Value, Read Alouds

Written by: Angie Olson

Why books?

Math is a subject that can be exciting to teach and learn.  One way that students can get excited about math is through the use of storybooks.  A good book can be the perfect way to grab students' interest, build on their prior knowledge, build vocabulary, form meaningful connections, and lead into purposeful math talks.  I have gathered some of my favorite books to introduce and teach place value in the elementary classroom.  By no means are these the only books that can be used for this skill but instead a solid start to building your collection. You can find this book list, as well as additional activities, in our Lucky to Learn Math Unit 1 Overview.

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase. For more information about my Disclosure Policy, please visit this link.

11 Math Books to Teach Place Value

Zero the Hero

Zero the Hero

What's the value of zero and why is it so great anyways?  Zero the Hero by Joan Holub and Tom Lichtenheld is a fun story about the number zero.  Each number in the story is a character.  The other numbers in the story aren't a big fan of the number zero.  He doesn't add anything in addition.  He's of no use in division.  And don't even ask what he does to you in multiplication.  But Zero knows he's worth a lot, and when the other numbers get into trouble, he swoops in to prove that his talents are innumerable.

The King's Commissioners

The King's Commissioners

The King's Commissioners  by Cindy Neuschwander is a great children's story that introduces place value in a fun way!  Sir Cumference and Lady Di are planning a surprise birthday party for King Arthur, but their plans are turning into a royal mess.  More and more guests arrive, until the castle is full from tower to moat.  And the guests need to be fed!  The knight and lady race to count tens, hundreds, and even thousands of partygoers.  Your students will love this classic.

Want to extend the fun? Practice skip counting by 5s & 10s with Skip Counting to the Stars Game from Lucky to Learn Math.

How Much Is a Million?


How Much Is a Million?  by David M. Schwartz is a great story about large numbers.  Ever wonder just what a million of something means? How about a billion? Or a trillion? Marvelosissimo the mathematical magician can teach you! How Much is a Million? knocks complex numbers down to size in a fun, humorous way, helping children conceptualize a difficult mathematical concept.

Two of Everything


Two of Everything by Lily Toy Hong is a Chinese folktale. When a pot appears in the garden the Haktaks are curious about how they will use it. They soon discover that anything that is placed in the pot is doubled. Of course there is a little bit of trouble that comes along but all is resolved in the end. It is a fantastic way to help students begin thinking about how numbers double.

Math Fables:  Lessons That Count

Math Fables

Math Fables: Lessons That Count by Greg Tang is an amazing resource for teaching children their math skills, in particular their place value concepts.  Through winsome “fables” about concepts that are relevant to the very youngest math learners — sharing, teamwork, etc. — Greg encourages kids to see the basics of addition and subtraction in entirely new ways. Fresh, fun, and most of all, inspiring, MATH FABLES is perfect for launching young readers on the road to math success!

Out for the Count:  A Counting Adventure


Out for the Count: A Counting Adventure by Kathryn Cave is a sweet story about a little boy named Tom.  Tom can't sleep, so his father suggests he try “counting sheep.” He agrees, but soon finds the sheep leading him, and his trusty stuffed-rabbit companion, into a wild woodland that's anything but restful. Once there, he meets more creatures — mountain goats, pirates, penguins, even vampire bats and tigers. To survive, he hides or races away by car, on foot, or on skis, but always counting. Soon Tom finds himself in the company of 88 ghosts! Chris Riddell's colorful illustrations bring the action to life, while Kathryn Cave's verse narrative wittily documents Tom's search for sleep and counting skills!

A Fair Bear Share


A Fair Bear Share  by Stuart J. Murphy is a terrific math story about bear cubs gathering berries, seeds, and nuts for Mama Bear's Blue Ribbon Blueberry Pie.  Although this story is categorized as an addition with regrouping story, I think it also goes nicely with the concept of place value.  As the bears collect their ingredients for Mama Bear, they collect the ingredients into groups of ten.  It's a great visual and opportunity for your kids to practice these place value skills.

One Hundred Ways To Get To 100


One Hundred Ways To Get To 100 by Jerry Pallotta is a fun book of kid-friendly images like balls, flowers, turtles, hamburgers, and rockets – all are fun things to count all the way up to a hundred! Counting by ones, twos, fours, fives, tens, twenties, etc., readers develop their arithmetic skills.

A Million Dots


A Million Dots by Andrew Clements is a unique story that shows your students what 1 million dots can look like when put together.  I loved this book because of its fun pictures and fascinating facts.  This book could be used to practice reading large numbers or to rewrite each number in standard form, expanded form, and word form.  You could also have your students build these large numbers by using base ten blocks or marker boards.

The Chicken Problem

The Chicken Problem

Young students love the characters Peg + Cat and now they can enjoy these characters through the story The Chicken Problem by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson.  Peg and Cat are getting ready to sit down and have a perfect picnic with a pig on a farm.  Everything's great, right?  Wrong!  They have a problem.  In fact, one problem leads to another problem and the problems just get bigger and bigger.  I love how the authors of this story incorporate math concepts throughout the story and prove that math can be exciting, empowering, and cool!

Earth Day-Hooray

Earth Day Hooray

I LOVE all of the Math Start books by Stuart J. Murphy.  Earth Day–Hooray!  is one of his popular children's books that is a huge hit with my students.  Earth Day-Hooray is a story about Ryan, Luke, and Carly.  They need to collect and recycle 5,000 cans if they want to make enough money to plant flowers in Gilroy Park.  This story is a lesson about recycling and the math skill of place value.  Your students will be counting by groups of hundreds, tens, and ones as you read to them!

Other Place Value Resources

Children's storybooks are one great resource to teach place value but it's not the only resource.  I also use interactive math notebooks, task cards, and place value videos.  AND – I have everything to teach place value with a full unit on this concept in our Lucky to Learn Math 2nd Grade Curriculum! You can download some of my favorite place value activities, and an overview of the Lucky to Learn Math Place Value unit by clicking on the buttons below.

Download HERE

toothy task kits

Lucky to Learn Math

Place Value Unit

toothy task kits

Place Value Toothy

toothy task kits

10 More, 10 Less, 1 More, 1 Less Activity

A great collection of books that can be used to teach place value to your students. 11 different math books, great ideas, place value resources, and some other free resources.

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase. For more information about my Disclosure Policy, please visit this link.


  1. gk questions

    Thank you for sharing such valuable info.

  2. Elementsplugin

    Thanks for the terrific post

  3. Leslie

    Love this! As an avid reader, I can’t wait to share these with my kiddos!


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Hey there!  I’m Angie, owner of Lucky Little Learners. Our #1 goal is to support K-2 teachers.  We provide unlimited access to over 20,000 printables that are aligned to your standards.