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Announcing the 2016 Mathical List

The selection panel featured mathematicians, teachers, librarians, early childhood experts, and others. Together they evaluated books of all kinds, from picture books and novels to narrative nonfiction, that foster an enjoyment of math — with an emphasis on literary quality; substantial and/or inspirational math content; and a clear, accurate, and inviting approach to mathematics.

The Mathical list is divided into four school-grade categories. Below are the 2016 winners and honorees. Read the press release here.


  • 8: An Animal Alphabet, written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper

Grades K-2:

  • Max’s Math, by Kate Banks (author) and Boris Kulikov (illustrator)

Grades 3-5:

  • Secret Coders, by Gene Yuen Lang and Mike Holmes

The Mathical Honor books (published from 2004-2015) are:


  • Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep!, by Lucy Cousins

Grades K-2:

  • The Boy Who Loved Math, by Deborah Heiligman (author) and LeUyen Pham (illustrator)

Grades 3-5:

  • Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, by Kelly Jones (author) and Katie Kath (illustrator)
  • Just the Right Size: Why Big Animals are Big and Little Animals are Little, by Nicola Davies (author) and Neal Layton (illustrator)

Grades 6-8:

  • Innovators in Action: Leonardo da Vinci Gets A Do-Over, by Mark P. Friedlander, Jr. (author) and Worachet Boon Sakprayoonpong (illustrator)
  • The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel, by Deborah Hopkinson

The following was selected as a Hall of Fame book:

  • The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster (author) and Jules Feiffer (illustrator)

For more information about the Mathical program, visit Mathicalbooks.org.

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 (CBC) is the nonprofit trade association of children’s book publishers in North America, dedicated to supporting and informing the industry and fostering literacy.

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