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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

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4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  1,722 ratings  ·  356 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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Journey by Aaron BeckerThe Day the Crayons Quit by Drew DaywaltThe Dark by Lemony SnicketFlora and the Flamingo by Molly IdleMr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter  Brown
2014 Mock Caldecott
11th out of 79 books — 208 voters
The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah HeiligmanOn a Beam of Light by Jennifer  BerneA Splash of Red by Jennifer Fisher BryantLocomotive by Brian FlocaWho Says Women Can't Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone
Childrens NonFiction 2013
2nd out of 119 books — 37 voters


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Community Reviews

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Monica!
Aw, baw! I cannot get over how cute the illustrations in this book are.

Look at little Albert Einstein, wandering across town, flaunting his lack of socks and eating ice cream whilst thinking about Particles and Things. Propriety can go fuck itself—he has Important Science Genius Stuff to figure out!

I feel like responsible parents throughout the city would have wept as he went by, due to the way their kids, I’m sure, were like, “MR. EINSTEIN GETS ICE CREAM AND DOESN’T HAVE TO BRUSH HIS HAIR! WHY
...more
Elizabeth
E=mc2

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.
Richie Partington
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
...more
Kristine
"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
...more
Ying Lee
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
...more
Joan
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
Barbara
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
Liza Nahas
"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 .
Kellylou
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!
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.
Amy
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
Reshamad
“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
...more
Lynn
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
Maggie Burgess
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
Matt
5/5

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.

5/5

MH
Benji Martin
I don't read a lot of nonfiction out loud to my students, but I might give this one a try next week.
Erin
Awesome biography of Albert Einstein for young ones preschool and up.
Lily
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.
Melissa
On a Beam of Light a children's biography of Albert Einstein. It goes through his entire life from when he is born until he dies and obviously, it doesn't go through everything that Einstein experienced or discovered but I thought it did a great job as a children's book to give an overview of his discoveries. It discusses the speed of light, atoms and how Einstein discovered these things to be true. It was also inspirational and discussed that Einstein didn't start speaking until after three yea ...more
Rachel
On a Beam of Light not only outlines the life of Albert Einstein, but it encourages children to think as well. Think outside the box, be different, be creative, this is how true genius forms. Einstein's life was not one of "normalcy", he did not fit in at school, but his curiosity knew no bounds. The narration wisely gives little in terms of details because this book targets a young audience and specific things like formulas would be discouraging. Rather it focuses on the man himself, his questi ...more
Marissa Connell
This story tells the story of Albert Einstein's life through a charming, picture book that is very reader friendly. This story tells the tale of an awkward, unusual child who blossoms into one of the most famous scientists to ever live. Albert did not speak very much until he turned four years old instead he "Looked around with big, curious eyes." However, once Albert discovered that the world was full of mysteries, through an experience with his fathers compass, he was inspired and set off to ...more
Amy
A Beam of Light is a story about Albert Einstein. 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 ...more
Marinna Bressel
Albert Einstein, a man who "asked questions never asked before. Found answers never found before. And dreamed up ideas never dreamt before. The book moves quickly through Einstein's quiet childhood, a trigger his interest in the mysteries in the world hidden and silent, unknown and unseen, to his accomplishments as an adult.
Vladimir Radunsky’s design reflects great attention to detail, on one hand, and an effort to avoid busyness, on the other. The front endpaper is decorated with a plaid patter
...more
Alyssa Frank
This story On a Beam of Light is a story of Albert Einstein. When Albert was young he barely spoke a word. His parents wondered and worried that something was wrong but knew that whatever it was they would love him anyway. When Albert was sick his father bought him a compass and no matter which way Albert stood the compass would always point north which made him wonder! He started questioning and questioning and wouldn't stop until he could discover the mysteries of the world. So he started stud ...more
Lauren Marotta
This story On a Beam of Light is a story of Albert Einstein. When Albert was young he barely spoke a word. His parents wondered and worried that something was wrong but knew that whatever it was they would love him anyway. When Albert was sick his father bought him a compass and no matter which way Albert stood the compass would always point north which made him wonder! He started questioning and questioning and wouldn't stop until he could discover the mysteries of the world. So he started stud ...more
Christina Swain
From this biographical story, children will be able to learn about the popular genius, Albert Einstein. As known, A.E. is best known for his theory of relativity. In this read, students will be able to see young Albert at a young age. He was very observant and inquisitive. It is filled with colorful illustrations that will keep children easily engaged.

In my future classroom, I would probably implement this book into a writing workshop lesson. I would introduce the text to my students, but then
...more
Wendee Vezzetti
SUMMARY:
This book profiles the life of Albert Einstein, but in a unique way. Rather than focusing on his accomplishments, it emphasized Alberts questions, wonderment and amazement of the world. He was a late speaker, which I think that students who are not as develop verbally will find a connection and acceptance with that. Yet when he did begin to speak, he asked questions. I like the lightheartedness and focus of this book - it makes questions, education, learning and intelligence fun and the
...more
Keri Douglas
Berne, J. (2013). On a beam of light: a story of Albert Einstein. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

This is a whimsical look at the life of Albert Einstein. As a boy Albert seemed to have delays, experienced social isolation, and discovered questioning. This progression through his life from childhood to adulthood shows how this genius was just a man with an extraordinary gift of questioning and learning.

This book could be used in the Reading CCAP gd 4-6 “Human Experience Through Literature” to ex
...more
Sam
According to Horn Book Magazine, “The title of this book refers to the mental picture young Albert Einstein conjured one day while biking through the countryside; he looked at the sunbeams "speeding from the sun to the Earth" and suddenly imagined he was "racing through space on a beam of light." Berne and Radunsky -- in a gorgeous piece of bookmaking -- use this "biggest, most exciting thought Albert had ever had" as the focal point for their homage to the great physicist” (Books in Print). Thi ...more
Erin.painter
Non-fiction text:
Berne, J., & Radunsky, V. (2013). On a beam of light: A story of Albert Einstein. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

Twin fiction text:
Arteaga, M., Celej, Z., & Brokenbrow, J. (2012). Inside my imagination. Madrid: Cuento de Luz.
Inside My Imagination

The non-fiction text selected is a short account of the life of Albert Einstein. The text emphasizes how Einstein would think about the world around him and imagine how it came to be that the world works in the way that it does.
...more
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