Margin Notes



TRY THIS TOMORROW: One Book, Many Ways

Mathematizing Children’s Literature: Sparking Connections, Joy and Wonder Through Read Alouds and Discussions written by Allison Hintz and Anthony T. Smith challenges educators to explore a “story several times from different perspectives and do so with the goal of listening to and honoring children’s thoughts and ideas”. They implore that we “lead with beautiful and interesting stories and use those stories as context for inviting learners to think as mathematicians.” (Hinz & Smith, 2022, p.4). They challenge educators to think about approaching stories with a mathematical lens and creating a space for learners to share their noticings and wonderings in ways that cultivate thinking and talk, sparking curiosity, joy, and wonder.

I was inspired to extend that to approaching stories with many lenses: as artists, composers, scientists, citizens, inventors, explorers, readers, and writers. Hinz & Smith (2022) disrupted my thinking around collecting stories with a math theme, or an art theme but looking at illustrations and words within texts as a focus for investigation.

  • How can one book be used in many ways across learning areas and layered across curriculum?
  • How can we return to the same picture book or the same text in different ways?
  • How can we use read alouds in a Middle or High School math or science class to springboard thinking and discussion?
  • How can we help our readers approach stories with curiosity and wonder?

The watch and wonder theme in the picture book, one boy watching, written and illustrated by Grant Snider is the perfect book to practice this idea. Snider beautifully illustrates a boy’s journey to school and all that a student riding the bus might see, hear, and feel.

Perfect for all ages, Snider will have you reminiscing about your own school bus journey of days gone by. Snider’s illustrations, short text and watch and wonder theme makes this a perfect book for returning to a read aloud repeatedly to focus on or investigate a feature of the story through many lenses.

We asked author Grant Snider for some words of wisdom for educators who share his book with their students and his response echoes Hinz & Smith’s theme in their book: that inspiration for thinking can come from anywhere if we take the time to practice curiosity.

I wonder how can we explore our current collection of read alouds with a learning areas lens and think about how one illustration, one sentence or one beautifully written paragraph can be used across the learnings areas?


Hintz, A., & Smith, A. T. (2023). Mathematizing children’s literature: Sparking connections, joy, and wonder through read-alouds and discussion. Hawker Brownlow Education.

Snider, G. (2022). one boy watching. Chronicle Books.


Leave a Reply