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Mathical Book Award Winners

By March 16, 2020May 13th, 2021The Kerlan Blog

2020 Mathical Winners Announced

2020 Mathical Book Award Winners for Ages 2-18

Berkeley, CA – March 12, 2020  From online gaming to middle school math journaling, from pigeons on a wire to chickens in a coop, this year’s Mathical Book Prize winners offer young people unique ways to explore mathematical ideas in the world around them.

The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) announced the 2020 winners today of the Mathical Book Prize, which recognizes outstanding fiction and literary nonfiction for youth ages 2-18. The announcement took place as part of the Critical Issues in Mathematics Education conference.

The Mathical Prize, now in its sixth year, is selected annually by a committee of PreK-12 teachers, librarians, mathematicians, early childhood experts, and others. This year’s honorees include the following:

  • For Pre-Kindergarten, the Mathical Award Winner is One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller, by Kate Read (Peachtree Publishing Company).
  • For Grades K-2, the Mathical Award Winner is Pigeon Math, by Asia Citro (Innovation Press).
  • For Grades 3-5, the Mathical Award Winner is Solving for M, by Jennifer Swender (Crown Books for Young Readers).
  • For Grades 9-12, the Mathical Award Winner is Slay, by Brittney Morris (Simon Pulse).

Mathical selection committee co-chair Elizabeth Bird reflected on the 2020 slate of winning titles.

“It is with the greatest of pleasure that I’ve watched the quality and quantity of great math books for kids rise steadily each year. Granted, that makes the job of the award committee all the more difficult, but it’s a challenge we embrace with joy,” she said.

Bird is the collection development manager for the Evanston (IL) Public Library system, and a reviewer for Kirkus and the New York Times.

“One of the best parts of my year is getting to read these wonderful books that give children and young adults the opportunity to explore mathematics in the literary form,” said Candice Price, assistant professor of mathematics at Smith College and incoming co-chair of the Mathical selection committee.

2020 Mathical Honor Books and Hall of Fame The following Mathical Honor Books were also announced by the selection committee:

PreK: Round, by Joyce Sidman; One Happy Tiger, by Catherine Rayner; Animal Shapes, by Christopher Silas Neal

Grades K-2: Is 2 a Lot?: An Adventure with Numbers, by Annie Watson; Count on Me, by Miguel Tanco

Grades 3-5: DK Life Stories: Katherine Johnson, by Ebony Joy Wilkins

Grades 6-8: All of the Above, by Shelley Pearsall

Joining the Mathical Hall of Fame list of classic titles this year are Hippos Go Berserk!, by Sandra Boynton, and One Grain of Rice, by Demi.

The Mathical Book Prize is awarded by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and in coordination with the Children’s Book Council (CBC).

The Mathical Book Prize is made possible through the generous support of the Firedoll Foundation and the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation.

MSRI partners with organizations including First Book, School Library Journal, the Books for Kids Foundation, and others to distribute Mathical titles nationally to children in need.

Additional resources for media, educators, and librarians to use to promote and feature Mathical award winners in kids’ reading programs can be found on the Mathical website at

About MSRI: The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) is one of the world’s preeminent centers for collaborative research in mathematics. Located in Berkeley, California, MSRI’s mission is to advance mathematical research, foster talent, and further the appreciation of mathematics. MSRI strives to make mathematics accessible and exciting to those outside the field through the National Math Festival, sponsorship of Numberphile (YouTube’s most popular informal mathematics channel, with over 3.2 million subscribers), film production for public television, and the Mathical Book Prize.

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