Celebrate Hispanic and Latino heritage in a very special way: with math! Many of us grew up thinking that math was dull and difficult, but that can change with our kids as they learn that math can be fun from the start. Adding in some culturally-relevant characters, words and stories only makes things better. Here are a few books that can help little ones realize how rich in math our cultures really are.
"Count Me In: A Parade of Mexican Folk Art Numbers in English and Spanish" (Ages 2-6)
Written by Cynthia Weill and illustrated with ceramics by the Aguilar Sisters: Guillermina, Josefina, Irene, and Concepción
Join a Oaxacan parade to practice counting in English and Spanish from one to ten. Kids will also learn about traditional Oaxacan trajes regionales (regional costumes) and music with photos of beautiful ceramics.
"Opuestos: Mexican Folk Art Opposites in English and Spanish" (Ages 2-6)
Written by Cynthia Weill, featuring wood sculptures from Oaxaca by Quirino and Martín Santiago
Learn the English and Spanish words for common opposites (like the words up and down (arriba y abajo), which help develop kids' spatial sense) with the help of some intricately carved and painted wooden animal sculptures made by talented Oaxacan artisans.
"Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes" (Ages 3-5)
Written by Roseanne Thong and illustrated by John Parra
Discover the shapes and Spanish names for all kinds of items all around time, like round campanas (bells), square ventanas (windows), rectangular paletas (ice pops), triangular sandía (watermelon) slices and so much more!
"Lia & Luís: Who Has More?" (Ages 3-6)
Written by Ana Crespo and illustrated by Giovana Medeiros
Brazilian American siblings Lia and Luís love to snack on Brazilian treats. Luís, however, always loves to compare how many snacks he has and brag when he has more. Lia doesn't like that at all, so she uses some clever math tools to show her brother how much they both really have using measurement and comparison. This book also won the Mathical Book Prize.
"Not a Bean" (Ages 3-7)
Written by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez and illustrated by Laura González
Take a trip to the desert to see how a Mexican jumping bean travels throughout the day and helps kids review counting one through ten, as well as different words for desert plants and animals, like coyote and saguaro.
After a tamal-making session with her mother goes horribly wrong, María tries to solve a mystery wrapped in masa before her mother finds out what she did. In the end, a little family help in counting out the tamales is all she needs.