Developing Math Problem Solving Skills


I love meeting brilliant authors that inspire my son. Edward Zaccaro from Hickory Grove Press is one of those authors. His ability to teach math to gifted and advanced students is unparalleled. My son is advanced in many areas, including math and science. He sees his own gifts and this is part of the reason he wants to be a scientist when he grows up. He believes that he can make a difference. While we adore Teaching Textbooks and it is the perfect program to teach him new concepts and help him practice math problems, we both want more than that. He enjoys, and he needs, challenging material.

Books like Becoming a Problem Solving Genius and 25 Real Life Math Investigations That Will Astound Teachers and Students have been indispensable in our homeschool. All people, young and old, need to learn the skills needed to be able to look at the world and its problems through math savvy eyes.

Read my review on 10 Things All Future Mathematicians and Scientists Must Know, a fabulous book written by Mr. Zaccaro.


What we like about Edward Zaccaro’s books

  • The cartoon-style illustrations are humorous and appeal to kids. We love the back and forth banter between Einstein and the rat.
  • His philosophy about teaching is that a person needs to truly understand the concepts, rather than simply memorize a rote formula.
  • Many of the techniques he shares were developed by him personally and tested on his own students.
  • Each unit in his books contains problems from various levels of difficulty, from level 1 to Super Einstein level.


  • The books are very helpful in teaching quick solutions to real life and often challenging dilemmas. He always teaches in context of real world situations.
  • The books do not just provide the answer, they explain the answer.
  • Controversial issues like corn-based ethanol vs. natural gas are discussed, but the books are not bias in any way. The media and liberal textbooks will tell you one thing. Conservatives will tell you another thing. These books give you the data and teach you how to do the calculations to come to your own conclusions.


  • He strongly believes that kids need to be challenged. Read his quote below.

While most mathematically gifted children enjoy challenging material, some children find the experience of challenge and frustration to be quite stressful because it is a foreign concept to them. Teachers of  mathematically gifted children have the sometimes unpleasant task of helping these students understand that limiting their academics to an intellectual box where there is no struggle or frustration is not healthy and leads to a life that is not as fulfilling or as rewarding.  

The Seven Components of Successful Programs for Mathematically Gifted Children by Ed Zaccaro, Hickory Grove Press

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

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