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On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein
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On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  2,708 Ratings  ·  469 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Chronicle Books (first published April 1st 2013)
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Em I think this book would be great for a 7 year old. It doesn't get too deep into explaining science, it focuses on Einstein's life as a person curious…moreI think this book would be great for a 7 year old. It doesn't get too deep into explaining science, it focuses on Einstein's life as a person curious about "the hidden mysteries in the world" and shows Einstein asking questions and working to find out answers. Plus the art is awesome! Hope this helps :) (less)

Community Reviews

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Richie Partington
Mar 21, 2013 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
Richie's Picks: ON A BEAM OF LIGHT: A STORY OF ALBERT EINSTEIN by Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky, Chronicle, April 2013, 56p., ISBN: 978-0-8118-7235-5

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

This was a kindle deal of the day and I've seen it on some finalist lists for end of the year Mock Newbery clubs. That wouldn't be enough to make me jump on it, but seriously: Albert Einstein. I could not pass this up because for the last few years we have told Ellie all about him when she had a hard time paying attention and not fitting into public schools. That the smartest man known in
Nov 12, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books

Loved this book about scientific discovery!

The illustrations are dreamy in this ode to Albert Einstein. LOVED. And the text does a dazzling job of conveying how Einstein's wide-eyed curiosity was responsible for his discoveries. Most amazing was his ability to visualize experiments in his mind. He was playful, a pacifist, loved children, and had a brilliant mind.
Ying Lee
Aug 17, 2013 Ying Lee rated it really liked it
Genre: Biography
Copyright: 2013

The life of Albert Einstein is abnormal. He began to speak later than most children; he wondered about things that were different from his peers; his imagination usually send him to a wild world. In other people's eyes, he was a weirdo! Yet, this weirdo became a genius one day when others finally realize how knowledgeable this man was. As a matter of fact, Albert Einstein was never a weirdo. He was a man who loved observing, thinking, wondering, figuring, imagining
I seem to be having different opinions from most lately. Well, it just happened again. People have been singing their praises over this book. I don't know if it is the last page that gets them so excited with the author addressing the kid reader pointing out the kid might be the one to solve some of the questions Einstein left posterity or what. While I don't really have much that is negative about this book, I don't see a lot that is positive either. I like the analogy of a beam of light. But I ...more
Filled with gouache and pen and ink illustrations and text that somehow bring to mind Albert Einstein, this picture book biography manages to make the famous physicist accessible to a young audience. The book briefly covers his formative years during which he quietly observed the world and his curiosity abouut its mysteries ("hidden and silent, unknown and unseen" (unpaged). That curiosity never faded, and he went on to become fascinated with light, sound, and numbers. That curiosity will lead t ...more
A fabulous look at the quirky life of Albert Einstein and the importance he placed on questioning and creativity as a means to finding answers to unanswerable questions. The whimsical illustrations paired with the varied text add to the fun this book has with itself. Love the blocky red text that can almost be read as a stand-alone to highlight the more important ideas throughout the story. Definitely a book worth sharing with students!
Edward Sullivan
Reading this book reminded me of an early Apple computer poster campaign that featured pictures of famous people like Gandhi and John Lennon with the simple caption, "Think Different." Einstein was also featured on a poster. In this delightful picture book biography, Berne's text and Radunsky's illustrations perfectly capture Einstein's intense fascination with and curiosity about world, and his humor and passion for life.
Jillian Heise
I absolutely love this book! Thinking I'll use it as a beginning of the school year read aloud to encourage students to always wonder, think, imagine, and be curious.
Jun 14, 2016 Kristina rated it it was amazing
This was just too cute! I absolutely loved it <3
Feb 06, 2017 Melissa rated it it was amazing
My six year old chose this for her bedtime story and really enjoyed it. She didn't know everything that was mentioned but enjoyed learning. The illustrations though were her favorite part.
Dec 04, 2013 Reshamad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
“Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein

“On a Beam of Light” is a picture book biography on Albert Einstein. I have read quite a few picture book biographies on Einstein but this is the first and only book that has truly felt engaging and accessible for a younger audience.

How do you explain to young kids about how the mind of a genius physicist works? How do you communicate how a simple beam of light opened a world of wonders for young Einstein? And how do you express the e
Bryant Schumacher
May 03, 2015 Bryant Schumacher rated it it was amazing
Shelves: etec-545-class-6
“My feet are happier without socks!” This isn’t a book on physics, or relativity, or even science, for that matter. This is a picture book biography on a genius aimed at children, and how this genius lived. Focusing more so on his eccentricities, author Jennifer Berne and illustrator Vladimir Radunsky portray Einstein as the quintessential outsider. He barely started talking by the time he was three, was socially awkward, refused to wear socks, played violin alone, ate ice-cream almost wherever ...more
Apr 02, 2014 Matt rated it it was amazing

A Fabulous book to foster children's interest in science. The true story of Albert Einstein.

Read immediately in your local library's Junior NON-FIC section.


Benji Martin
Feb 11, 2014 Benji Martin rated it it was amazing
I don't read a lot of nonfiction out loud to my students, but I might give this one a try next week.
Jun 08, 2016 Maria rated it it was amazing
The drawings in this book are so cute. Loved how the author wrote about Einsteins life. A really good book for children :)
Oct 18, 2015 Carolanne rated it really liked it
Nice introduction to Albert Einstein and the significance of being curious and searching for understanding.
Alexandra Ibberson
Feb 04, 2017 Alexandra Ibberson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlit
This is a biography of Albert Einstein. It tells the story of his life. When he was young, his parents were concerned about his lack of speech. They thought he was a strange child. Then one day his dad gave him a compass to play with and Albert was amazed by it. He became enthralled with the mysteries of the world. He had lots of questions about science. He read and studied about heat, gravity, magnetism. He loved numbers and he wanted to be a teacher. When he couldn't find a job as a teacher, h ...more
Sep 30, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book, cln
I read this book for the Children's Literature Network possible Caldecott award winning discussion and so, it is through the lense of illustrations that I write this review. I am an absolute fan of the simple, yet expressive illustrations of this book. I love that the illustrations are drawn for the intended audience of the book. The pictures of Einstein's mom and dad at the beginning of the book are an excellent example. They are not drawn the same in every picture. When Albert is two, his mom ...more
Christina Starks
Sep 28, 2016 Christina Starks rated it it was amazing
Children need to be inspired to ask questions about the world that they are a part of. Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky created the biography story “On a Beam of Light” based on the life of Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein was a genius who questioned the aspects of the world. This book truly brought tears to my eyes while reading it. The powerful illustrations of sketches bring the words to life. During the read, there are red highlighted words for emphasis on the thoughts in Einstein’s hea ...more
Katherine Austin
Nov 30, 2016 Katherine Austin rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-4050
1) Book summary, in your own words (3 pts)
-This book puts readers inside the mind of the great Albert Einstein. They learn what it's like to see the world through the eyes of a young scientist, full of wonder and curiosity. The book shows readers that curiosity about the world around them and thinking critically about the whys and hows of this world can lead them to go very far in their lives.
2) Grade level, interest level, lexile (1 pt)
-3rd grade
3) Appropriate classroom use (subject area) (1 pt
Dec 08, 2013 Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This picture book about Albert Einstein provides some great details about his life and about learning and individuality. Einstein, as a young child, spoke later than most children. As a teacher of English language acquisition, I know listening is far more important than speaking for language development and people should never be forced to speak before they are ready. Often people who wait, show more proficiency in language than someone forced to speak. Einstein was challenged school and educati ...more
Dec 27, 2013 MacK rated it it was ok
It's a tricky business turning history and science into an easily digestible children's story. Simplicity is the order of the day, but when you're trying to simplify the life of the world's greatest physicist it's a slightly trickier proposition.

Yet that's what Jennifer Berne and illustrator Vladmir Radunsky attempt to do in their history of the life and times if Albert Einstein.

The story is as simplified as you might expect, there's plenty about how goofy and inventive Einstein could be, and v
Maggie Burgess
Oct 28, 2013 Maggie Burgess rated it it was amazing
OUTSTANDING! I loved the illustrations so much, and I also love the story! I have heard it said that Albert Einstein may have been on the autism spectrum- something many people don't know about. While this book doesn't say it either, I love that it does reference that he was a different from other kids his age, and even adults as well. This would make me feel good if I were a child who maybe didn't always connect with peers. It's easy for kids to relate to as they see someone else who is a littl ...more
Kristina Jean Lareau
Feb 10, 2014 Kristina Jean Lareau rated it it was ok
Shelves: picturebooks
I found this book difficult to read. While the textured paper background works for the themes of the book, it makes the text difficult to read. The illustrations are light and playful, but to the point where they seem to detract from the story itself. I also find that Einstein's childhood is oversimplified, yet some of the topics he explores later in life have more detail. Overall this book does not add anything to the slew of books written about Einstein.
I can see why people would like the illustrations, but I don't particularly care for the style. I feel like it was stuck between age groups. Too lengthy and dry for younger children. Not enough details and facts about his life for children a few years older. I wanted it to either be more little kid friendly or have more facts and details. I do think it send a lot of positive messages to children though and encourages them to ask questions and be themselves, which is good.
Dec 15, 2014 Lily rated it it was amazing
It's interesting to see what books my children like. They both enjoyed the illustrations and told me Albert Einstein was one interesting dude. They thought he was amazing because he questioned everything, did things his own way and used his imagination to figure things out. I look forward to reading this one again. Such a great book.
Dec 30, 2014 Mikemcq rated it it was ok
My biggest issue with this book, aside from the uncomfortable illustrations, was the lack of focus it had on any particular accomplishment of Einstein's life. I walked away having learned nothing new or interesting.
Liza Nahas
Feb 22, 2015 Liza Nahas rated it really liked it
"He asked questions never asked before. Found answers never found before. And dreamed up ideas never dreamt before."
Inspirational & interesting. Easy to read. & easy for young ones to grasp the message .
Sep 29, 2013 stillme rated it really liked it
Excellent picture book biography that gives info about Einstein and encourages kids to think, question, and wonder about the world around them.
ALA ALSC Notable 2014
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