Essential Reading List for Mentors of Math-Enthusiastic Kids: Grade 1 to 5

If you find that your child loves solving Mathematical problems from a very young age, please do introduce him/her to the beauty of non-routine mathematical thinking and problems right from the elementary level anywhere between grade-1 and 5. This will foster a greater awareness and appreciation of mathematics and its connections to other disciplines. Doing this will build a strong foundation not only in Mathematics but also inculcate a higher level of logical and critical thinking.  This whole process of gradual training in practice of good non-routine mathematics will smoothen the  child’s journey to Math Olympiads(The real ones) and exams like IITJEE or admission to Universities abroad. Such non-routine problems are not generally discussed with school curriculum. 

  To gradually prepare the student for the Real Math Olympiads or inculcating love for mathematics is a challenge for both teachers and parents.

It is hard to find great books for elementary school kids from which the mentors either in the form of teachers or parents may study and accordingly train the kids. The following books are some happy exceptions. I would highly recommend teachers, parents and the students to possess at-least two of the following books and work on them cover to cover along with the child, if you want them to fall exceptionally in love with Mathematics and perform well in related subjects.

1)  Math Circle by the Bay: Topics for Grades 1-5
    A math circle is a group of  participants(teachers, students, anyone…) engaging in the depths and intricacies of mathematical thinking and propagating the culture of doing mathematics, and thus creating knowledge.This book documents math circle activities designed for younger students,originally done by author with the  school students at the University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University etc.The book  aims to enrich students’ mathematical understanding through challenging activities and discussions. It begins with simple topics like figurate numbers and geometric arrangements and gradually progresses to deeper concepts like relations among figures and the discovery of mathematical patterns, such as the sum of odd consecutive numbers forming a perfect square. The book covers various topics, including combinatorics, Fibonacci numbers, Pascal’s triangle, and areas, using creative approaches to develop intuition and understanding. It presents engaging problems that encourage exploration without relying on equations, making it accessible and appealing to both young students and educators. The book is highly recommended by us for elementary teachers seeking to cultivate mathematical curiosity among their students. You may be interested to read another wonderful review in the Mathematical Association of America.

Click to buy from Amazon available in Paperback version.


2) Math Circles for Elementary School Students
As parents and teachers we may feel that younger kids are not ready for complex maths and even if we try to make our child embrace the beauty of mathematics, it is challenging to find deep and engaging math activities, adapted for this younger audience. This book by Natasha Rozhkovskaya addresses both these difficulties. The richly illustrated book introduces the child to the basics of many important areas of modern mathematics, including logic, symmetry, probability theory, knot theory, cryptography, fractals, and number theory.
  This is basically a book , where parents and teachers discover how to introduce mathematics beautifully to your child.
  Click to buy from Amazon,either in paperback-version or  in Kindle version. 

3) Math from Three to Seven
  This book is a captivating account of a professional mathematician’s experiences conducting a math circle for preschoolers, ideal for parents ,teachers, educators or anyone interested in the intellectual development of young children ideally within the age group 3.5 years to 6 years. This book has both specific activities and a general philosophical approach towards explanations of the activities and that makes it excellent ! This book is full of wonderful engaging activities for young children (3-6 years old). While going through this book, I am pretty sure that you may wish that your parents had this book when you were young. Highly recommended for Parents and teachers of preschoolers.

Click to buy from Amazon,either in paperback version or  in Kindle version. 

4) Mathematical Circle Diaries, Year 1- Grades 5 to 7:
    This book offers lesson plans for mentors/parents/ teachers for creating a dynamic learning environment that sparks the growth of logical thinking, creativity, analytical prowess, and mathematical reasoning in children. These essential skills, often overlooked in traditional schooling, are increasingly valued in today’s world. This comprehensive book equips educators and parents with a complete year’s worth of resources to successfully conduct a mathematical teaching.
Across 29 weekly lessons, it provides detailed lectures, interactive discussions, problem sets accompanied by solutions, and engaging contests and games. Moreover, the book imparts valuable insights into effectively managing a mathematical circle. Designed for individuals with varying levels of expertise, including teachers, parents, and math enthusiasts, it prioritizes the development of critical thinking. Likewise, mathematically curious children will find this book intriguing with interesting and challenging word problems, combinatorics, divisibility, odd & even numbers and many more.
Click to buy from Amazon, either in paperback version or in Kindle version.