Thursday, December 19, 2013

Library Bag Fave: ON A BEAM OF LIGHT, A Story About Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, pictures by Vladimir Radunsky

Vladimir Radunsky
I've always told adults that if you want to start researching or learning about something, start with picture books! I love when a really good picture book comes out about a famous person that I can share with my students, grandchildren, and friends. I was smitten with this one the moment I picked it up! I LOVE when a book makes me gasp and smile. Radunsky's illustrations are fun and the sepia background he chose makes it look old and really cool. But my favorite part of this book is how Jennifer Berne shows us that Einstein was a thinker and a dreamer. He wondered and pondered and LOVED to learn. His father put a compass in his hand when Einstein was ill and laid up in bed. It fascinated him that no matter which way he turned it, it always pointed north. "Albert was so amazed, his body trembled." He started asking questions, so many that his teachers said he was a disruption and would never amount to anything. "Albert Einstein wanted to discover the hidden mysteries in the world." And, boy howdy, did he! It's filled with fun facts, great illustrations, and we find out that he learned to his very last day. He left us with many questions still being pondered by scientists all over the world. I LOVE  the way she ended it. "Questions that YOU may someday wondering, thinking, and imagining." There are more facts in the back and some of the titles of the 50 books she researched. There's also this website: Albert Einstein
Jennifer Berne

Paperboy by Vince Vawter

Vince Vawter
This is on my list of  favorite books of all time with 5+ stars! It was one of those happy serendipity times when a friend recommended it because someone just raved, and raved, and raved but wouldn't give any details. He just said, "you just have to read it. That's all there is to it!" So I picked it up immediately.

1959, a hot Memphis summer...doesn't that alone just bring up so many images and wonder-ings? The narrator is an eleven year old boy. His family is well-off, and they have a housekeeper, whom he calls, Mam. His friend Rat has gone to a relative's farm for the summer and our narrator has to take over his paper route. He just happens to be the ace pitcher of the baseball team and knows that he'll be a good paperboy. But what will happen when he has to collect? Our narrator stutters...horribly. How is he going to ask his customers for payment every Friday night?

Our narrator encounters numerous characters while on his bike route that delight him, teach him, and put him in danger. I, too, am not going to tell you much more. There are so many surprises and twists and delights that I WILL NOT ruin them. All I'm going to say is read it! If you liked TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE HELP, and THE KING'S SPEECH, you will LOVE this book!

I listened to this one and I recommend that you do, too. I wondered how they were going to go about it. I mean, think about it...the main character stutters. The audio reader, Lincoln Hoppe is magnificent. The only thing that I don't like about audio, is that I'm usually listening in the car. So when I hear a quote, I can't stop and write it down. Heck, I can't even pause it, I'M DRIVING! So...of course this means that I have to own a copy of the book, too. Oh darn!