So Albert started to read and study and learn all kinds of things he wanted to know about magnetism and heat and gravity. All of his studying and all of his thinking and all of his being different turned out to be a good thing... a really important thing actually. His name was Albert...Albert Einstein and he came to understand the answers to mysteries about our world.
His ideas helped "build spaceships and satellites that travel to the moon and beyond." It's great to be different! It's great to be you. Will you be the one to discover the answers to the questions Albert Einstein couldn't solve?
56 pages Ages 6-10
"When I was young it seemed that life was so wonderful,
a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily
oh joyfully, oh playfully watching me.
But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,
logical, oh responsible, practical"
-- Roger Hodgson, "The Logical Song"
"Albert started asking questions. Questions at home. Questions at school.
So many questions that some of his teachers told him he was a disruption in
his class. They said he would never amount to anything unless he learned
to behave like all the other students.
"But Albert didn't want to be like the other students."
I got to the point as a teenager that I either needed to embrace my
growing nonconformity or else end up feeling bad all the time about not being
like everyone else seemed to be. Luckily for me, my self-acceptance of being
different took place during the late sixties when I could take great comfort
in the fact that there were others out there who were similarly not
fitting in and who, nevertheless, seemed to be making the most of it, and having
a pretty good time of it.
Luckily for the world, back in a day when nonconformity was not
particularly in vogue, Albert Einstein didn't worry about conforming either.
After providing a look at his childhood and early adulthood, author
Jennifer Berne does a great job of describing Albert Einstein's groundbreaking
work in physics on a simple enough level that fourth and fifth graders will
be able to get a little taste of what it was all about. This makes ON A BEAM
OF LIGHT a trade book of value in supplementing the science curriculum.
But the aspect I love most about this exceptionally well-illustrated
picture book is the manner in which it provides a real taste of how one of the
most brilliant people to ever live spent his time as an adult embracing
We read how he let his mind wander as the wind blew him across the water
in his little sailboat. About his putting aside a difficult science problem
and picking up his violin.
About his wandering around deep in thought, eating an ice cream cone. And
then, in the back matter, we read about how Einstein loved jokes and
tricks, how his eyes sparkled, how he laughed, and how he loved children. That he
was a person who could enjoy life in ways that I find so meaningful while
also being one of history's greatest thinkers makes for a lot of admiration
and inspiration on my part.
And I love the notion that some young reader who feels really different,
and has maybe taken some grief for not conforming, will check out this
biography and take comfort in knowing that someone truly amazing like Albert
Einstein dealt with just the same sort of thing. 56 pages 978-0-8118-7235-5