There is immense joy and thrill in discovering that one of the world’s greatest mathematicians (and probably many more like him) got interested in mathematics, just as I did as a kid, after reading one of Yakov I. Perelman‘s popular science books. Physics for Entertainment is the book and Grisha Perelman is the mathematician I am referring to!
Yakov I. Perelman’s books on physics, mathematics and astronomy were written in a style that brought out many of the aspects of the aforesaid subjects in the most enjoyable way. He breathed life into every page of his books and made mathematics and physics accessible to any kid in a way that brought sheer joy to the soul! At the same time, his writings provided a glimpse of the amazing way that physics helps us understand and study the nature around us. Physics Can Be Fun, Mathematics Can be Fun and Astronomy for Entertainment are the titles of some of his other books that were immensely popular among young students who read them. The credit for my long-lasting interest/passion in physics and mathematics solely goes to him.
I think all twelve-year olds should be given copies of his books as birthday gifts instead of toys! Surprisingly, there is an online copy of Physics For Entertainment here. I am not sure if any copyright laws will be violated if you download the online version but it seems that the site is a “genuine” one.
Yakov Perelman, sadly, died during the Siege of Leningrad in 1942.