On a Beam of Light: A Sto­ry of Albert Einstein

Jen­nifer Berne
  • Review
By – October 31, 2014

This book is a thor­ough delight! It’s a col­or­ful, cheer­ful pic­ture biog­ra­phy full to the brim with charm and ideas. The ideas are all Albert Einstein’s, of course, and, fascinat­ing and com­plex as they may be, here they are dis­tilled into terms sim­ple enough to be under­stood and appre­ci­at­ed by a young child. Berne tells the read­er about Einstein’s child­hood. He was a dif­fer­ent kind of child, she explains, out of the ordi­nary. He spoke late and was any­thing but a mod­el stu­dent in his ear­ly years. Even so, he became the thinker to whom all oth­ers are now com­pared. She sub­tly encour­ages the read­er to believe that even if he or she feels dif­fer­ent, this can be asset; fit­ting in with the crowd is not neces­sarily the only way to suc­ceed. The writ­ing, both about Einstein’s life and about his work, is live­ly and acces­si­ble and the illus­tra­tions accom­pa­ny­ing the text are equal­ly fab­u­lous; faces are expres­sive­ly drawn and humor abounds. An author’s note at the end of the book gives exten­sive infor­ma­tion on a vari­ety of top­ics: Einstein’s thought exper­i­ments, his engag­ing per­son­al­i­ty, his most famous scien­tific for­mu­la, the atom bomb and his pas­sion for paci­fism. A bib­li­og­ra­phy and an archival web­site are includ­ed, as well, so the read­er can learn more about Einstein’s life, times and sig­nif­i­cant sci­en­tif­ic contributions. 

High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for ages 6 – 10.

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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