A 2022 Pi Day Reading List

March 4, 2022 | Jen McB

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Sine, sine, cosine, sine 3.14159!

Happy Pi Day! March 14 is dedicated to the mathematical constant, π (pi), or 3.14159265359. That's right – this day is about celebrating all things math, hopefully with tasty pastries (pie) to help with the difficulties of rigorous studying.

Anyone may partake in the festivities and it is for very good reason. You see, as it turns out, math is an instinct. Imagine you walk into a room, by instinct you automatically know how many people are around you. You just did a mental calculation. You then had a reason to describe your observation in a way to tell someone else, especially if instead of a room, it was a battlefield. “Having a sense of quantity is a survival skill” according to Dr. Colin Beveridge in the Mathematics Bible. Whether it is a simple headcount or a quadratic equation the symbols of math mean to describe an observation.

There has been a notable uptick in math-related questions at my library lately. Questions like:

Where are the math books?

Do you have math books?

Can you recommend a math book for my child?

If it is an adult asking, it could be a question about statistics or math-related careers.


So where to begin? How about we go from least to greatest (<) difficulty.

Math Play

Math Play by Linda Dauksas & Jeanne White 

Shapes, counting and number recognition for the preschool crowd with a handy supplies list for instructors. Learn about fun games to play to learn different math principles. 


Big Ideas of Early Mathematics

Big Ideas of Early Mathematics: what teachers of young children need to know by Jeanine O’Nan Brownell

This title is great for teachers of young kids beginning in math, as well as math tutors.  It includes instructions on how to develop a sense of numbers and patterns with children. The content focuses on making learning fun through activities like puzzles and the hokey pokey.  


The Math Book

The Math Book: big ideas simply explained by Janet Dangerfield et al.

This title includes some of the best lessons on quadratic equations as it defines how a square is on top of the hierarchy of shapes in math. What is nice is the explanations behind the symbols are easy to visualize.    


50 Leveled Math Problems

50 leveled Math Problems by Linda Dacey or Anne Collins

Grade school problems and brainteasers to sharpen skills and practice word problems. There are six books in the series, so lots of math problems to solve.


The Math Behind

The Math Behind…discover the math behind everyday events by Colin Beveridge  

This book covers math in everyday events like sports and games, traveling from A to B, digital technology, chance and coincidence and more. If you know someone who loves patterns this is the book to recommend. 


Math in Minutes

Math in Minutes by Paul Glendinning 

In this title, you will learn mathematic concepts that are quickly and clearly explained and can be easily remembered thanks to many simple yet essential illustrations.


The Grapes of Math

The Grapes of Math by Alex Bellos

Within this rather famous book, you discover how exciting prime numbers are. Turns out, if you pick the right number, it is a marketer's dream in revenue targets. If you believe Jerry Newport, an interviewee in the first chapter, “A new prime number-it’s like a new friend.” Why not make friends with math principles.  


Weapons of Math Destruction The Math of Life and Death

Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil and The Math of Life and Death by Kit Yates are equally (=) intermediate.

The takeaway, these titles will get you familiar with probability, biases, context and how to test your assumptions. Every unseen topic of manipulation from social media algorithms to how to win at baseball via statistical analysis is covered. Cathy O’Neill writes as a caveat: “no model can include all of the real world’s complexity or the nuance of human communication.”


In Pursuit of Zeta 3

In Pursuit of Zeta-3 by Paul J. Nahin

Do you understand AP-Calculus? This book is for you. If you thought quadratic equations were easy, this is the kind of book to challenge yourself.


Whether you are four or forty it is never too late to learn about math. You are like Pi, infinitely capable of continuously learning new things. How about a little pie to celebrate?    

How to Bake Pi

How to Bake Pi by Eugenia Cheng


More helpful resources

High School level math books are at the reference desks of our larger libraries. Copies of grade school math can be reserved if you know the grade.

There are also many complimentary resources in the 510s non-fiction section at the library on elementary concepts such as shapes, geometry and measurement.

For adult learners, try LinkedIn Learning for math courses for beginner, intermediate and advanced learning.