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Today’s Friday Favorite STEAM book is another great math book for kids: How Much is a Million? written by David M. Schwartz and illustrated by Steven Kellogg. This book is from my mother-in-law’s collection of math picture books (she’s a retired middle school math teacher).

My kids and I have been enjoying reading all of her math picture books (including Math Curse), but How Much is a Million? is one that my kids have been requesting for me to read over, and over, and over again. I love when my kids find books they really like, especially when it’s a STEAM book!


Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician takes kids on a journey to discover just how much is a million. On the journey he uses amazing examples to explain a million in ways that kids can understand.

He compares a million kids standing on each other’s shoulders to heights of buildings and mountains. He explains how long it would take a kid to count to a million, and how large a fishbowl would need to be to hold a million goldfish. He takes the kids on a hot air balloon ride to discover how many pages it would take to see a million tiny stars. 

Once the kids learn how big is a million, they ask how big is a billion? So Marvelosissimo takes them on the same journey to learn how much larger a billion is than a million. Then, they repeat the journey one more time to learn how much is a trillion. 


As soon as we finished reading How Much is a Million? for the first time, my kids immediately wanted to read it again. I know they both have heard of “a million” before, but I don’t think either of them ever really understood the scale of that number. This book finally made the large scale of this number more understandable to them. 

We learned that you can’t just count to a million in one afternoon. It would take 23 full days of counting to get to a million. This was surprising and interesting for my kids to learn. They also liked seeing how high and far a million, billion, and trillion kids stretched into the sky and beyond. I love the creative ways they show how large these numbers are. Each of the examples of a million were so fascinating to my kids. The author used comparisons that appealed to my kids interests, and the illustrations ignited their imaginations and made the numbers come to life. 

For the researchers like me, who want proof that it would really take 23 days to count to a million, there’s several pages at the end of the book giving all the formulas for the calculations use as examples in the book, along with detailed explanations. I really enjoyed reading those final pages and learning things like how they calculated how far a trillion kids would stretch into our solar system. 


  • Math: This is a great way to teach kids about the large numbers 1 million, 1 billion, and 1 trillion. This book will show kids how large these numbers are in ways they can understand. 

How Much is a Million? is perfect for curious kids who have wondered at the vastness of the sky, oceans, or desert. Kids can be amazed at just how large these numbers really are. If you’re interested in learning more and buying this cool book you can check it out on Amazon using my link here.  


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