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News from the National Math Festival

February 2021 ·

Mathical Book Prize

Math + Literature = 
2021 Mathical Book Prize Winners!

With snack time and bedtime battles, biographies of inspirational women and men in STEM to colorful folktales, this year’s Mathical Book Prize winners encourage youth to recognize and explore mathematical ideas in the world around them.

The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) has announced the 2021 winners of the Mathical Book Prize, which recognizes outstanding fiction and literary nonfiction for youth ages 2-18. The Mathical Prize, now in its seventh year, is selected annually by a committee of PreK-12 teachers, librarians, mathematicians, early childhood experts, and others. To learn about this year's winning titles, read on or view the event video!
View Event Video and Resources: Meet all 5 of this year's award-winning authors, reading selections from their Mathical titles, plus a special guest appearance by Dr. James Tanton of the NMF Weekly Puzzle Newsletter. (Available through March 1)
2021 Mathical Award Winners

For Pre-Kindergarten, the Mathical Award Winner is Lia & Luís: Who Has More?, by Ana Crespo (Charlesbridge).

For Grades K-2, the Mathical Award Winner is The Animals Would Not Sleep, by Sara Levine (Charlesbridge).

For Grades 3-5, the Mathical Award Winner is Seven Golden Rings: A Tale of Music and Math, by Rajani LaRocca (Lee & Low Books).

For Grades 6-8, the Mathical Award Winner is How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure by John Rocco (Crown Books for Young Readers / Random House Children’s Books).

For Grades 9-12, the Mathical Award Winner is Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math, by Jeannine Atkins (Simon & Schuster).

The following Mathical Honor Books were also announced by the selection committee, co-chaired this year by Elizabeth (Betsy) Bird, collection development manager of the Evanston (IL) Public Library system and reviewer for Kirkus and the New York Times, and Dr. Candice Price, assistant professor of mathematics at Smith College and co-founder of the website Mathematically Gifted and Black.

2021 Mathical Honor Books

2021 Mathical Honor Books


Grades K-2

Grades 3-5

Grades 6-8

Grades 9-12

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 around the U.S. to distribute Mathical titles to children in need.

Additional resources to support educators, librarians, and families can be accessed 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.

Mathical Supporters Kit

Resources for media, educators, and librarians to use to promote and feature Mathical award winners in kids’ reading programs can be found in the 2021 Mathical Book Prize Media Kit.

Download the complete list of Mathical Book Prize winners


Mathical Book Prize Organizers

Mathematical Sciences Research Institute
National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE)
National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
In cooperation with the Children's Book Council
Children's Book Council
The Mathical Book Prize is a program of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), organizer of the National Math Festival.

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