Review: Albert Einstein: Genius of Space and Time

Albert Einstein: Genius of Space and Time!

by Mark Shulman, illustrated by Kelly Tindall

Portable Press, an imprint of Printers Row Publishing Group

Category: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Jane Kohuth

Albert Einstein: Genius of Space and Time! is part of the “Show me History!” graphic biography series. It presents a largely chronological overview of Einstein’s whole life rather than focusing on one particular time period or aspect of his work. The story, aimed at middle grade readers, is narrated by two characters based on Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty, who guide the reader through Einstein’s childhood, education, rocky marriage, scientific breakthroughs, fame, escape from Nazi Germany, reluctant encouragement to FDR to develop nuclear weapons ahead of the Germans, and later life working at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. 
Despite dealing with sometimes very serious subject matter, the book takes an overall humorous (but always respectful) tone in both its writing and comic illustration style, both of which should appeal to most children in the target audience. The biographical narrative pauses at times to present explanations of Einstein’s most famous discoveries and thought experiments. These could be the most interesting parts of the book, but the explanations given are likely to be at least somewhat confusing to readers in this age group.  

This biography was exceptional in its focus on Einstein’s Jewish identity. The author mentions the prejudice Einstein faced as a Jew in Germany, discusses the rise of Nazi power, and recounts the harrowing escape Einstein and his second wife had to make from the Nazis. In particular, the book dwells on Einstein’s continuing advocacy both for peace and for creating and supporting the State of Israel. For this reason, this book is a potential contender for Sydney Taylor recognition. 
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Reviewer Jane Kohuth has a degree in English and Creative Writing from Brandeis University as well as a master's degree in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Jane has published several children's books, including the Jewish-themed books Estie the Mensch (a PJ Library Book), Anne Frank's Chestnut Tree, (a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People), Who's Got the Etrog?, a PJ Library and PJ Goes to School selection. A new picture book, Something on the Hill, is forthcoming from Random House, Anne Schwartz Books. She lives with her husband, son, and two cats, in an old New England House with its own wetland, woods, and antique garbage dump (so many bottles!). On their first day in their new home, her son named it Great Albert Woods. You can find out more about her and her books at