“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
‘On a Beam of Light’ is a wonderful story, chronicling the life of Albert Einstein. Yes, he was a great man that set many incredible milestones in the understanding of science as we know it. But he was so, so much more. Here, he is celebrated, not just for his scientific mind or for the discoveries that made him renowned through history and across the world, but also for his curiosity, resilience, individuality and tenacity.
From a little boy with big curious eyes who didn’t say a word, that soon became a child who asked so many question in class that his teachers told him he was a disruption, to a young man who zipped through the streets on his bicycle, imagining he was racing through space on a beam of light, Albert’s mind was always full of questions and wonder. The reader follows Albert as his drive to answer the questions that fill his head fuel his search for knowledge and understanding. He reads. He studies. He explores numbers. Finally, he graduates and looks for work doing what he loves the most: teaching; teaching all of the things he had read about.
But things did no go the way Albert had hoped. Instead of his dream job he ended up working in a government office. However, he still thought and wondered and asked questions. As time passed, and the thinking, wondering and questioning continued, Albert began to figure things out! This was only the beginning for Albert Einstein; he was about to carve out his legacy.
The illustrations held within the pages are delightful. You can almost see the whirring of Einstein’s mind as makes his discoveries. I really liked the relaxed style and gentle use of colour with simple line drawings sitting comfortably alongside more complicated coloured illustrations
Of course, this book is brimming with scientific ideas. Einstein’s thoughts and wonderings are presented to the reader: his ideas about atoms, motion and the universe. They are explained very simply, yet clearly, without becoming a textbook, leaving plenty of room for the reader to go away and discover more (should they wish). In addition, it shares the special things about Albert, celebrating his individuality. For example, Albert had his own learning style which he believed helped him think. He had music to help him think, clothes to help him think and ice cream to help him think.
The use of sentence structure, punctuation and language for effect in this book are exceptional. There is so much to look at with children which they could easily apply to their own writing in order to enhance the variety of their sentence structures as well as considering the purpose of their choices. On the very first page, through the use of repetitive subordinating clauses, the reader is drawn in from far away to the place where Albert was born. The effect of the language is enhanced further by clever use of coloured text alongside the black text.
“Over 100 hundred years ago, as the stars swirled in the sky, as the Earth circled the sun, as the March winds blew through a little town by a river, a baby boy was born. His parents named him Albert.”
On every single page, there are structures that could be shared with the children. It is an absolute treasure trove for playing with sentences and punctuation. In addition, the language is rich and precise.
‘On a Beam of Light’ celebrates the learning skills that we advocate in our classrooms: perseverance, resilience, creativity. It shows that one person, from humble beginnings can achieve incredible things if they really, truly want it, if they are willing to work for it and if they have the passion and drive to succeed. The story of Albert Einstein makes for an inspiring and a thoroughly enjoyable read.