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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