Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 219: On a Beam of Light

"The important thing is not to stop questioning.  
Curiosity has its own reason for existing."
~Albert Einstein

I've been on a bit of a "new books" kick lately, having discovered some fabulous new titles at our local library that I was lucky enough to snatch up and bring home.  In fact, later this morning, I need to make a library run to return them, since they are on hold by other eager readers and I'm unable to renew them.  
On a Beam of Light is one of these books, so I figure I'd better write about now while I can.

I have heard great things about this story, which was published a few months ago in April, 2013, so I was excited to finally track down a copy and read it.  It's a lovely, informative, and inspiring book about the life and work of Albert Einstein.  Author Jennifer Berne manages to tell his story in a way that is interesting and accessible to children; not easy, given that so many of his discoveries and theories baffle even adults.  Vladimir Radunsky's illustrations are a lovely match for the story, as well, especially those that accompany the thoughts of one of the most creative and brilliant minds the world has ever known.

Berne begins the story by telling us about the early life of young Albert:  about how he turned a year old and didn't say a word.  How he turned two and didn't say a word.  And how he turned three, and hardly spoke at all.  "He just looked around with his big, curious eyes.  Looked and wondered.  Looked and wondered."  We follow along as Albert grows older and begins asking questions; so many, in fact, that his teachers criticize him for being too disruptive and not behaving like all the other students.  "But Albert didn't want to be like the other students.  He wanted to discover the hidden mysteries of the world."

From there, we learn about Albert's quest to learn and understand, and the many ways in which his ideas forever changed science and the what we know about the world.  He asked questions about simple things like why sugar dissolves in hot tea, and set out to find answers by doing what he loved best -- "imagining, wondering, figuring, and thinking."

While the story starts out telling us about Einstein's young life and progresses to teach us about his work and discoveries, I love that it also explains about what he was like as a person, as well.  So often, we learn about important historical figures in a factual, contextual way, so I enjoyed learning about the more ordinary traits of such an extraordinary man.  For example, Albert did some of his best thinking in his sailboat or while playing his violin, or while wearing his favorite combination of baggy sweaters, comfy pants, and shoes without socks.  I just love that!

Most importantly, though, I love the way this story encourages children to ask questions, imagine, and dream.  The book ends by reminding young readers that while Einstein found many answers, there are still many unanswered questions about our world... questions that someday they may go on to answer.

On a Beam of Light is a wonderful way to bring science and biography into your child's reading repertoire. My 5 1/2 year old son enjoys this book, though it didn't quite capture the attention of my 3 year old daughter.  I think she's still a bit young to fully appreciate this story.  In my opinion, this is a perfect book to use in early elementary classrooms to get children excited about science and physics and introduce them to one of the world's most brilliant thinkers.  Curiosity is a wonderful thing, and this book celebrates that in the most marvelous of ways.


Unknown said...

This is a new book we just found at the bookstore the other day. Love this one!

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