# The Big List of Inspiring Books for High School Math

How do you feel about Homeschooling High School math? My guess is that it’s probably not your favorite. Or maybe you outsource your high school math, so you don’t have to teach it. Maybe you both feel less pressure that way. It takes a special teen to enjoy math. Do you know any?! **The Big List of Inspiring Books for High School Math** is a giant list of books that are perfect for adding some dimension to your teen’s math work.

*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!*

Now, you might be thinking how your teen couldn’t possibly add anything to their schedule.

Trust me. By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll feel confident with incorporating relevant books into your teen’s math studies.

## What Makes an Inspiring Math Book?

Is there really such a thing as an inspiring math book?

To some, it might seem like an oxymoron.

**But, yes, there are books about math and the people behind the math that can inspiring your teens. In fact, I’d say those teens who are most discouraged by math, may benefit the most from an inspiring math book.**

These aren’t textbooks. Rather, they are books written by someone who is an expert in their field with the purpose of igniting interest in the average person.

Let’s have a look at using math “trade” books to add a new perspective on high school math.

## The Benefits of Using Inspiring Math Books with your Homeschooled High Schooler

So, what’s the big deal?

Why spend time with books about math instead of just doing math?

Let’s talk about it:

**Great Stories**– you know I love a good book to teach STEM. Sometimes I’m in it just for the story!**Applications**– these books are chock full of real world applications, so your teen can easily see what the math is used for**Exposure**– to problems and solutions our teens may not have encountered yet.**Career Exploration**– at the same time they are seeing new problems and solutions, it opens up a world of professions they might be new to.**Dimension**– good math books will add dimension to your teen’s math studies. It might even be a whole new way to look at their own work.**Information**– it gives you, as the homeschool teacher mom, more information on concepts- not just your teens**Differentiated Instruction**– that is not just learn a problem solving technique and perform the technique. Sometimes our teens can think way beyond what their skills in math allow.**People**– your teen will learn about the people behind the concepts, the mathematicians.

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## Ways to Use Inspiring Books for Math

You can choose to implement this strategy into your teen’s math in a number of ways. I’ll share a few here:

**Brain Breaks**– insert an inspiring math book when your teen needs a break, but they still need to finish math for the day. Finish it differently!**Long Term Breaks**– when your teen needs a breather from the math grind. Let’s face it. That’s what math can feel like to our students. Pro tip- It is absolutely ok to take the breather!**Morning Time**– this is especially useful if your homeschool is mostly older kids, but either way, taking time to read these aloud is not wasted time!**Read Aloud**– if morning time isn’t an option, or even if it is, you can read to your student while they do math. In our ADHD case, this works very well to keep our teens stimulated. Not all teens are candidate for this, but when they are it’s a great tool.**Read Aloud**– while they keep busy with their hands in some other way. Maybe during art or when they are working on a personal project. Homeschoolers are aces at this!**Reading Assignment**– you can simply assign these books to your teen like book club style. You can read (or skim) too and discuss it together. This was definitely one of my superpowers in our homeschool.**Rabbit Trail**– use the book as rabbit trail fodder. You never know where they will lead and more learning is always uncovered.**Assign for Another Subject**– it’s high quality learning when you can cross the curriculum and link together subjects. It’s not cheating! It’s amazing to make connections and add History and English to the mix.

**Pro Tip: If your teen is neurodiverse, they might enjoy seeing themselves in the person or people they are reading about. Often people who did extraordinary work were extraordinary people and gifted/intense teens love to see the positive side of being who they are.**

## The Big List of Inspiring Books for High School Math

It’s time for the part you’ve been waiting for.

The big book list!

**Change is the Only Constant: The Wisdom of Calculus in a Mad Cap World**– this is a fun read that helps to conceptualize what Calculus is all about.**Professor Stewart’s Casebook of Mathematical Mysteries**– a book that has over 200 puzzles for curious problem solvers**Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities**–**In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations that Changed the World**– this book is about the 17 equations responsible for life as we know it**Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe**– without Calculus we wouldn’t have cell phones, TV, GPS, or ultrasound. Learn all about how Calculus makes the world go round.**Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World**– The story takes us from the bloody battlefields of Europe’s religious wars and the English Civil War and into the lives of the greatest mathematicians and philosophers of the day, including Galileo and Isaac Newton, Cardinal Bellarmine and Thomas Hobbes, and Christopher Clavius and John Wallis**The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math from One to Infinity**– this one will hit lots of topics of real world math applications**Professor Stewart’s Hoard of Mathematical Treasures**– lots of math riddles based on the long history of math**Professor Stewart’s Incredible Numbers**– an introduction to common and uncommon numbers that surround us**What’s the Use? How Mathematics Shapes Everyday Life**– learn the power of math in the world that surrounds us**An Imaginary Tale: The Story of √-1**– The adventure and eenigma behind the story of the imaginary number i**Nature’s Numbers: The Unreal Reality of Mathematics**– compelling and accessible mathematical ideas and along with the pleasure of thinking about them**The Mathematical Universe: An Alphabetical Journey through the Great Proofs, Problems, & Personalities**– a collection of short essays each covering a different topic**Humble Pi: When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World**– explores and explains a litany of glitches, near misses, and mathematical mishaps**The Mathematics of Life**– fascinating overview of the vital but little-recognized role mathematics has played in pulling back the curtain on the hidden complexities of the natural world**How to Cut Cake: And Other Mathematical Conundrums**– lots of math puzzles based on real world experiences**Introduction to Topology**– if you have a big math thinker, you might introduce them to topology which is the study of geometric properties and spatial relations unaffected by the continuous change of shape or size of figures.**Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life**–**How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking**– Synchrony is a science in its infancy, and Strogatz is a pioneer in this new frontier in which mathematicians and physicists attempt to pinpoint just how spontaneous order emerges from chaos.**e: The Story of a Number**– learn about the number e and how we see it in our everyday lives**Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else**– Jordan Ellenberg reveals the geometry underneath some of the most important scientific, political, and philosophical problems we face, from the spread of coronavirus to rise of machine learning.**The Calculus of Friendship: What a Teacher & Student Learned about Life While Corresponding about Math**– the story of an extraordinary connection between a teacher and a student, as chronicled through more than thirty years of letters between them. What makes their relationship unique is that it is based almost entirely on a shared love of calculus.**Fermat’s Equation: The Epic Quest to Solve the World’s Greatest Mathematical Problem**– What came to be known as Fermat’s Last Theorem looked simple; proving it, however, became the Holy Grail of mathematics, baffling its finest minds for more than 350 years.**A History of Mathematics**– reference for those looking to learn about the fascinating history of humankind’s relationship with numbers, shapes, and patterns.**Prime Obsession: Bernard Riemann & the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics**– the story of a man who wanted to define a precise formula to track and identify the occurrence of prime numbers.**Mathematics for Human Flourishing**– stories that tell how math is intimately tied to being human**Measurement**– a book that makes complex ideas about the mathematics of shape and motion intuitive and graspable.**A History of Pi**– gives the background of the times when pi made progress — and also when it did not**The Big Bang of Numbers: How to Build the Universe Using Only Math**– could we create a universe using only math?**Math-ish: Finding Creativity, Diversity, & Meaning in Mathematics**– shares new neuroscientific research on how embracing the concept of “math-ish”—a theory of mathematics as it exists in the real world—changes the way we think about mathematics, data, and ourselves.**The Little Book of Mathematical Principles, Theories, & Things**– provides simple, clear explanations for the principles, equations, paradoxes, laws, and theorems that form the basis of modern mathematics.**How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method**– shows anyone in any field how to think straight. In lucid and appealing prose, Polya reveals how the mathematical method of demonstrating a proof or finding an unknown can help you attack any problem that can be reasoned out—from building a bridge to winning a game of anagrams**A Mathematician’s Lament: How School Cheats Us Out of Our Most Fascinating & Imaginative Art Find**– reveals math to be a creative art form on par with painting, poetry, and sculpture, and rejects the standard anxiety-producing teaching methods used in most schools today**The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy**– a great translation and guide to Isaac Newton’s work laid out in mathematical terms the principles of time, force, and motion that have guided the development of modern physical science**Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students’ Potential through Creative Mathematics, Inspiring Messages, & Innovative Teaching**– Perfect for students who have been convinced they are naturally “bad at math,” the author offers a demonstration of how to turn self-doubt into self-confidence by relying on the “mindset” framework**Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea**– follow this innocent-looking number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and transcendence in the West, and its ever-present threat to modern physics**The Nothing that Is: A Natural History of Zero**– begins as a mystery story, taking us back to Sumerian times, and then to Greece and India, piecing together the way the idea of a symbol for nothing evolved**The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, The World’s Most Astonishing Number**– ponder the mysterious relationship between numbers and the nature of reality**The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos & the Search for Mathematical Truth**– a story Paul Erdos who was an amazing and prolific mathematician whose life as a world-wandering numerical nomad was legendary**The Calculus Story: A Mathematical Adventure**– learn how calculus applies to everyday modern life**The Golden Ratio: The Divine Beauty of Mathematics**– explores the beauty and mystery of the divine proportion in art, architecture, nature, and beyond**The Equations that Couldn’t Be Solved: How Mathematical Genus Discovered the Language of Symmetry**– This is the first extensive, popular account of the mathematics of symmetry and order, The Equation That Couldn’t Be Solved is told not through abstract formulas but in a dramatic account of the lives and work of some of the greatest mathematicians in history.

## Inspiring Math Books for Teens with Math Learning Differences

I work with families everyday who have teens who struggle with math.

They might have dyscalculia,

poor working memory,

slow processing speed,

or any other learning difference that affects the ability to do math.

Here’s a list of books for a younger student that might be right up your teen’s alley.

**The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure**– the tale of a boy who hates math and discovers awesome math with a number devil who leads him on an adventure**The Wonder Book of Geometry**– an illustrated history of geometry**The Spirit of Mathematics: Algebra and All that**– How algebra combines with geometry and other math to create the spirit of mathematics**1089 + All that: A Journey into Mathematics**– this book makes math accessible to anyone and goes on a pretty cool journey around the concepts of math and their application to the real world**Alexs Adventures in Number Land: Dispatches from the Wonderful World of Mathematics**– this one is a gem that takes you on a tour of how math applies to things in our universe**The Math Inspectors: Story One- The Case of the Claymore Diamond**– our youngest loved these stories in late elementary and middle school.**The Math Inspectors: Story Two- The Case of the Mysterious Mr. Jekyll**– another in the math mystery series**The Math Inspectors Book 3- The Case of the Christmas Caper**– book 3 in this quick series**The Math Inspectors Book 4- The Case of the Hamilton Roller Coaster**– book 4 in this series**The Math Inspectors Book 5- The Case of the Forgotten Mine**– the last book in the math inspector series

## Using a Kindle to Read Inspiring Books for High School Math

This post wouldn’t be complete without a word about my Kindles.

I have long championed the Amazon Kindle collection of devices!

**Kindles are economical, easy to use, workhorses that I believe are essential to homeschooling families.**

Kindles are also lightening fast.

When boredom creeps up and you need to keep your teen engaged, you can make the decision and 20 seconds later hand over a Kindle with a new book on it.

Piece of cake!

I once wrote a treatise on 6 Awesome Things You Need to Know to be a Kindle Pro.

It’s probably time for an update, given Amazon’s newest devices.

Sure, iPads and other tablets are useful tools, but there’s nothing like a Kindle for accessing the Amazon ecosystem (think: Kindle books and Audible!).

Here are my current favorites:

**Kindle Scribe**– this one is an enotebook that I adore! It doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles that devices like the ReMarkable and the SuperNote have, but it’s simple to use out of the box and it keeps all my business writing and planning inside. Plus, it can convert my handwriting to text which is a game changer. The thing about the Kindle Scribe is that it is also an eReader, so it’s like the Paperwhite screen in a huge size. I love how Amazon sells this in a bundle, and if you are in the market, be sure to buy the premium pen.*Plus! You can take notes on your Kindle books which is amazing for learning the skill of reacting to what you read.***Kindle Fire Max 11**– this is the Kindle’s biggest tablet. I love it for consuming media and mine has the keyboard which makes it easy to use on the go. Plus, it’s a nice, large screen for reading eBooks.**Kindle Paperwhite**– this is a little workhorse for sure. Touch screen, e ink, and lots of battery!**Kindle Fire 10**– this is a larger screen Kindle tablet that is perfect for reading and listening.

**Pro tip: One of the chief complaints about the Kindle Fire tablets is that your apps are limited to what Amazon offers. However, you can “sideload” the Google Play Store onto your Fire tablets and access all the apps you love on your other Android devices.**

If you try out one of these titles or you have another to share. Leave a comment! I’d love to read it!