Storytelling Math

I know school is out for the weekend, but I want to talk about Charlesbridge’s wonderful Storytelling Math series today. Each book in the series is written by a different author, but they all focus on a child of color as they play, build, and discover the way mathematical concepts shape the world around them.

You may have heard me rave about this series after reviewing Bracelets For Bina’s Brothers by Rajani LaRocca a while back, but today I want to focus on the newest additions to the series. Released earlier this month, Usha and the Big Digger by Amitha Jagannath Knight and Look, Grandma! Ni, Elisi! by Art Coulson both capture the spirit of the series by sharing stories that relate mathematical concepts while entertaining young readers.

Usha and the Big Digger by Amitha Jagannath Knight, Illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat

Focusing on geometry and spatial sense, Usha and the Big Digger follows a young girl named Usha as she stargazes with her sister, Aarti. Usha and Aarti can’t agree on what they see in the stars—where Aarti sees the Big Dipper, Usha sees the Big Digger. The girls ask their cousin Gloria to settle their debate once and for all, but Gloria sees the Big Kite in the stars. With stunning illustrations by Sandhya Prabhat, this delightful story teaches young readers the importance of perspective and how we all see things differently. Complete with a note about constellations in different cultures and activity suggestions in the back matter, Usha and the Big Digger is a wonderful addition to bookshelves everywhere.

About The Author:

Amitha Jagannath Knight has lots of experience with sister squabbles as she grew up with an identical twin. (They are still best friends.) Amitha lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two children, and two cats. This is her debut book.

About The Illustrator:

Sandhya Prabhat is an independent animator and illustrator from India. She has published nearly a dozen picture books. She also animates videos and designs e-stickers.

Look, Grandma! Ni, Elisi! by Art Coulson, Illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight

Look Grandma! Ni Elisi! highlights the mathematical concepts of volume, capacity, and area through the story of a young Cherokee boy who is selling his homemade marbles at his family’s booth at the Cherokee National Holiday. His grandma tells him he has to take up a small amount of table space, and Bo searches for the perfect container. The wonderful illustrations by Madelyn Goodnight perfectly capture all of Bo’s efforts to find a container that will hold all his marbles while fitting on the mat. The backmatter also contains a glossary of Cherokee words, a note about Cherokee marbles, and math activity suggestions for further reading.

About The Author:

Art Coulson is Cherokee from Oklahoma and comes from a family of storytellers. Some of his earliest memories are of listening to stories and reading books on his grandmother’s lap. Art now writes his own books for young readers, including Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army. He lives with his family in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

About The Illustrator:

Madelyn Goodnight is a member of the Chickasaw Nation, whose work reflects her love of childhood. She holds a degree from Rhode Island School of Design and lives in Oklahoma. She is the illustrator of The Pear Tree.

Storytelling Math is led by TERC, a non-profit made up of teams of math and science education and research experts dedicated to STEM education. To learn more about TERC and their efforts to inspire and engage millions of learners nationwide every year, please visit

You can learn more about the other titles in the Storytelling Math series and access activity kit downloads and author interviews on Charlebridge’s website at

Thank you so much to Charlesbridge for providing me with review copies of these wonderful additions to the Storytelling Math series.

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