Banana for Two

Mama, her toddler, and two stuffed bunnies turn a grocery store outing into a fun opportunity to talk, laugh, and learn a little math. As they fill their cart with items in quantities of one and two, Mama lets her baby hold them, connecting the familiar idea of one and two hands to concepts of one and two. But how will Mama share one banana for their snack?

Illustration © 2017 by Ying-Hwa Hu

Includes a note from early childhood education math expert Dr. Deborah Stipek that shows adults how everyday activities and conversation with young children offer rich opportunities to build an early understanding of quantities of one and two.

This book is based upon work supported in part by TERC under a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation. 

To see more of award-winning illustrator Ying-Hwa Hu’s artwork you can visit her at

An endearing board book perfectly sized for small hands, Banana for Two follows a mother and her young child on a routine trip to the grocery store. Playing games of peek-a-boo and conversing about each item as it goes in the cart, basic math concepts…are subtly intertwined into the story. My kids were immediately enamored with this book, and it is often chosen for story time.” – Margaret Langan of Read.Learn.Repeat.

“Ellen Mayer’s joyful math board book for the youngest readers introduces parents and other caregivers to ways that they can add math talk to everyday activities. In Banana for Two, grocery shopping becomes a fun opportunity for an adult and child to talk together about quantity…. Mayer’s conversational style—indeed the whole story is a conversation between mother and child—is sweet and loving….Ying-Hwa Hu’s exuberant illustrations of mother and child will make little ones and adults smile…. Little readers will love the adorable stuffed bunnies and join in the toddler’s pride as they too recognize the ideas of one and two.” – Kathy Lynn of

El día de los niños / El día de los libros, 2019 Selection

Sponsored by Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)

Recommended by California Early Math Project

Recommended by EarlyMath EDC

Recommended by Early Math Collaborative, Erikson Institute

Recommended by ParentChild+ site staff (an anti-bias book)

To Order

starbright Bookshop amazon

ISBN: 978-1-59572-788-6
Illustrated by Ying-Hwa Hu
Published by Star Bright Books, 2017
Board book, 20 pages
For ages 0-2

Banana para dos / Banana for Two, 2017
Spanish/English bilingual edition
ISBN: 978-1-59572-799-2


香蕉两人分 / Banana for Two, 2019
Chinese/English bilingual edition
ISBN:  978-1-59572-848-7

Watch Huihua Ye from the Video Interaction Project read Banana for Two in English and Mandarin


दो के लिए केल / Banana for Two, 2019
Hindi/English bilingual edition
ISBN:  978-1-59572-852-4

Watch Annet Mahendru read Banana for Two in Hindi for the Chicago Public Library (beginning at the 11:30 mark)!


Trái chuối cho hai / Banana for Two, 2019
Vietnamese/English bilingual edition
ISBN:  978-1-59572-849-4

Also available in Hmong/English, Punjabi/English, and Somali/English editions, 2020.

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