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On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein Hardcover – April 23, 2013
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*Starred Review* It’s not easy to explain the work of Albert Einstein to a young audience, but this marvelous book pulls it off. It does so by providing an overview of Einstein’s life: the way he thought and how his remarkable ideas changed the way scientists think. Berne begins with baby Albert, who didn’t say a word. And as he got older, he didn’t say a word—but he looked and wondered. When he was a student, his teachers thought he was too different, but his differences led him to think about natural phenomenon like light and numbers in new ways. The book reroutes the text around events in Einstein’s life, such as his escape from Nazi Germany and his move to the U.S., and it only touches upon his work on the nuclear bomb. This is a more personal look, but still, it explains how he came to the discovery of atoms and his theories about the speed of light. The text could not have better support than Radunsky’s artwork. Executed on textured papers, the stylized watercolors outlined in ink sometimes eschew decoration, with the focus on Einstein and others in his life; other spreads are swirled with words and numbers. The book stresses that readers may someday answer the questions that Einstein didn’t get to, and an author’s note extends the text with paragraphs about Einstein’s pacifism, personality, and thought experiments. A book as special as its subject. Grades 1-3. --Ilene Cooper
"Richly imagined, beautifully designed, impressionistic biography." - School Library Journal, starred review
"Makes genius Albert Einstein seem accessible." - Nerdy Book Club
"It's not easy to explain Einstein to young readers, but this terrific book pulls it off."--Bookist Top 10 Biographies for Youth
"It's impossible not to be inspired, not only by Einstein himself but also by this dazzling account of his life and imagination."--BookPage
"I was wowed by this book."--Robin Smith, The Horn Book Blog
"Einstein's lifelong curiosity sings through every page."-Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Einstein positively glows, radiating love and intelligence."-The Washington Post
"Don't miss this book. " - Kid Lit Frenzy
"By celebrating Einstein's wonderful curiosity, this book will inspire young kids to find science fascinating." -Walter Isaacson, author, Einstein: His Life and Universe
"Awakens a sense of curiosity and mystery in youngsters... an invitation to children to awaken their imaginations." - Shelf Awareness for Readers
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
New York Times Editor's Choice
New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2013
Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Books of the Year
Columbus Dispatch The Best of the Best of the Year
Booklist Top Ten Science Book of 2013
A Junior Library Guild Selection
"Whimsical and illuminating, this beautifully illustrated picture-book biography accomplishes a daunting task: to introduce the life and work of Albert Einstein to young readers."--Book Links, 2013 Lasting Connections
"Utterly charming."-The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Truly amazing." - The Horn Book, starred review
"Remarkable." - Mamarama, Redbook's Mom Blog Council
"On a Beam of Light reminds us that imagination is important, and that thinking is valuable. A great message for the little scientist in your life!" - Emily, bookseller, Hooray for Books!
"This is the best way to humanize such a larger-than-life historical figure." -- North Adams Transcript
"Sure to captivate young readers." - ReaderKidz
"Something of an It Gets Better Project for mathematically precocious children."--The New York Times
"Simply voiced, with word choices and illustrations as exciting as the subject."--Herald-Sun Best Books of 2013
"A book as special as its subject." - Booklist, starred review
"An ingenious portrait of genius." - The San Francisco Chronicle
"A splendid introduction to a man who never stopped questioning." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A perfect introduction to the famous physicist."-Science Books and Films
"A great read about a great man." - Walking Brain Cells
"A delightful young readers' introduction to several of Einstein's amazing ideas-and an equally valuable celebration of the advantages of being different." -Bob Berman, science author and columnist, Astronomy Magazine
"A delightful book and I would use it in my classroom." - Marilyn Cook, PreK-5 teacher, NSTA National Science Teachers Association Reccomends
"A delight for the sense... this elegant new picture book might just be that physical gift to spur on the next generation of wonderers." - Out With the Kids
"A celebration of curiosity."--Design Mom
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Top customer reviews
Why I Like This Book: An amazing way to bring the life and work of Albert Einstein alive to children. What a perfect introduction to the young reader about the famous physicist who never stopped questioning the world around him. The whimsical illustrations illuminate each page, and it shines a light on the underlying message the story shares about the value of the imagination and how that should be nourished and not crushed. An awakening of the senses and a fascinating read!
The illustrations are consistent with a children's book and parallel the story very well, it would be easy for children learning to read to follow along with this book. Buy it for yourself or your kid! It's good!
The hardcover version is definitely sturdier but the new paperback version holds up well. I do wish that they didn't put the font in a red color on some pages - it's hard to see with the background color.