Albert Ein­stein and the Poet­ry of Real

Manuel Gar­cia Igle­sias, Mar­wan Kahil (illus.)

  • Review
By – April 7, 2020

This graph­ic biog­ra­phy, illus­trat­ed in shades of black, white, and gray, intro­duces read­ers to the life of Albert Ein­stein and the times in which he lived. Ein­stein, one of the fore­most thinkers of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, had a pow­er­ful impact on the world as we know it today.

The sto­ry is pri­mar­i­ly nar­rat­ed by Ein­stein and floats back and forth in time as he rec­ol­lects events while he attempts to put them into his­tor­i­cal and per­son­al con­text. It begins with Albert’s child­hood and the con­cerns of his par­ents and teach­ers as to what a dreamy child like him could pos­si­bly be capa­ble of accom­plish­ing through­out a life­time. The gift of a com­pass, giv­en to Albert by his father, is a turn­ing point which opens his eyes to new pos­si­bil­i­ties and areas to explore. His ear­ly career with its per­son­al and polit­i­cal com­pli­ca­tions due to World War II, and the chal­lenges faced by world lead­ers at that time, lead both direct­ly and indi­rect­ly to his ground­break­ing sci­en­tif­ic suc­cess and to the impact of his dis­cov­er­ies on world events.

The authors do not shy away from dis­cus­sion of his Jew­ish iden­ti­ty and the effect that may have had on his sci­en­tif­ic career, as well as how it affect­ed world history.

The book exten­sive­ly explores Ein­stein’s life and the­o­ries, although it may be a bit too ambi­tious with dense­ly packed infor­ma­tion in almost every pan­el. It is quite a lot for a young read­er to absorb at once. Nev­er­the­less, this thought-pro­vok­ing, com­pre­hen­sive bio­graph­i­cal por­trait can be a vehi­cle for spark­ing curios­i­ty about the way the world works and will inspire some read­ers to take an active inter­est in sci­en­tif­ic inquiry. The detailed illus­tra­tions are filled with both motion and emo­tion; the text and art are well blend­ed, allow­ing the read­er to come away with a clear pic­ture of Ein­stein’s life.

Read­er edu­ca­tion con­tin­ues with the includ­ed back-mat­ter. There is a list of key dates in Ein­stein’s life accom­pa­nied by a time­line, as well as a bib­li­og­ra­phy. There is a source list which includes not only tra­di­tion­al books and peri­od­i­cals, but also a film, a TV series, and radio and video doc­u­men­taries. Notable is a sec­tion focus­ing on ideas for read­ers to reflect upon, con­sist­ing of many of Ein­stein’s fas­ci­nat­ing and inci­sive quotes. These quotes are well-cho­sen and deliv­er their mes­sages in sub­stan­tive, pithy phras­ing. They are a per­fect blend of poet­ry and sci­ence and make a great impact on a read­er who has just fin­ished read­ing Einstein’s life sto­ry. The append­ed mate­r­i­al is illus­trat­ed in the same style the graph­ic artist employed through­out the book.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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