Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - On a Beam of Light
Illustrator: Vladimir Radunsky
Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 23, 2013)
Audience: 2nd to 5th grade
biographical *nonfiction * scientists
Description from GoodReads:
A boy rides a bicycle down a dusty road. But in his mind, he envisions himself traveling at a speed beyond imagining, on a beam of light. This brilliant mind will one day offer up some of the most revolutionary ideas ever conceived. From a boy endlessly fascinated by the wonders around him, Albert Einstein ultimately grows into a man of genius recognized the world over for profoundly illuminating our understanding of the universe. Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky invite the reader to travel along with Einstein on a journey full of curiosity, laughter, and scientific discovery. Parents and children alike will appreciate this moving story of the powerful difference imagination can make in any life.
My thoughts on this book:
I have read a few children's biographies on Albert Einstein. Many were well done. However, Berne's On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein seems to have captured my attention on a different level. Maybe it has to do with Radunsky's quirky illustrations that seem to spotlight Einstein's unique personality. Or maybe it just is the Berne's ability to write about Einstein in a personal way for young readers. There is enough description of Einstein's early years and schooling to give readers a sense about Einstein. Adults who know more of Einstein's background should feel that just the right balance of highlights from Einstein's life is mixed with some of the things that made Einstein such a great physicist.
"He was racing through space on a beam of light"...doesn't the image above perfectly capture Berne's text?!
There is something about this picture of Einstein walking without shoes and licking an ice cream cone that made this a favorite image of mine. I guess it felt like it captured Einstein's unique personality which always seemed to hint at his inner child.
Berne includes some great notes on the end page which can be used to encourage further learning and research. Can I just say this is a wonderful book and you should go out and buy it? Seriously, add it to your classroom or school library. Read it aloud to kids. However, no matter what you do, don't miss this book.
For more information about Jennifer Berne: website | publisher page
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