On a Beam of Light: The Story of Albert Einstein

I am absolutely in love with the blog Brainpickings and if you have never heard of it, please do yourself a favour and read the complete article originally written by Maria Popova

“The charming visual tale of an introverted little boy who grew up to become the quintessential modern genius” Maria Popova describes this beautifully illustrated children’s book.

On a Beam of Light is an inspired tribute to Einstein, a man who “asked questions never asked before, found answers never found before and dreamed up ideas never dreamt before”, written by Jennifer Berne. The book is illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky which tells the tale of how an unusual child motivated by his curiosity, awakened into becoming “the quintessential modern genius” .

The story begins with Albert’s birth, a beautiful but odd baby boy who turns one and doesn’t say a word, turns two, then three, and still no words. Instead, he “just looked around with his big curious eyes,” wondering about the world. His parents worries that there might be something wrong, and then:

One day, when Albert was sick in bed, his father brought him a compass — a small round case with a magnetic needle inside. No matter which way Albert turned the compass, the needle always pointed north, as if held by an invisible hand. Albert was so amazed his body trembled.

Suddenly, he knew there were mysteries in the world — hidden and silent, unknown and unseen. He wanted, more than anything, to understand those mysteries.


This was that pivotal spark of curiosity that catapulted his young mind into a lifetime of exploring those mysteries. Young Albert began asking countless questions at home and at school, so much so, that his teachers chastised him for being a disturbance, admonishing the little boy that he would get nowhere in life unless he learned to follow the rules and behave like the other kids. And yet the mysteries of the universe drew Albert deeper into inquiry.

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

“The central message of this altogether wonderful picture-book is that despite his genius — or, perhaps, precisely because of it — Einstein’s greatest legacy to us isn’t all the answers he bequeathed but all the open questions he left for today’s young minds to grow up pondering. Because, after all, it is “thoroughly conscious ignorance” that drives science and our understanding of life.” – Maria Popova

Recommended for: Ages 5 and up. This is a wonderful book for teachers, librarians and parents to share with inquisitive kids. Teachers or parents can use On a Beam of Light to help teach the scientific method or to introduce kids to famous scientists.

Find your copy here

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