April 22, 2017

Module 12 Biographies

Book Cover:

Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein by [Brown, Don]

Book Summary:
From the time Albert was born he was odd and different. He was taken with math and found being with others hard but dealing with questions he had and answering them fascinating to him. His life story continues until his adulthood telling about how being different actually helped him with his science ideas. At the end there is an author note explaining a little bit more about his ideas.

APA Reference of Book:

Brown, D. (2014). Odd boy out: young Albert Einstein. Boston, MA: National Braille Press.

Pen drawn pictures with the muddy watercolors helps you think of that time period and when Albert starts to do good things the pictures brighten up a little bit. It kind of gives a dreary or sad feel to the story. I found that the author showed Einstein as a troubled boy and adult but didn't really talk a lot about his positives until the end. I think due to the time period he really was way ahead of his time and was criticized and not given credit due to his religion for a long time. I did like that it showed he persevered through his hardships and being different and didn't let that stop him for questioning and wondering to come up with the theory of relativity. The story was more tell than showing so may be a little dry for students.

Professional Review:

Gr 2-5-- This well-crafted picture-book biography focuses on Einstein's hard-to-classify brilliance, which led to awesome scientific discoveries, but all too often left him a misunderstood outsider. Brown describes his subject's loving, cultured parents who were frequently nonplussed by their son's behavior and temper. He found himself the "odd boy" at school, and as the only Jewish student, was sometimes taunted by other children. He puzzled his instructors as well; though clearly gifted in science, math, and music, he was an indifferent student in most subjects. Brown's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations, rendered in a palette of dusky mauve and earthy brown, portray a doubtful, somewhat unhappy-looking child, except for a picture in which he gazes fondly at a compass, a gift that astonishes him as he ponders its mysteries. In many scenes he is marginalized on the sidelines, set apart by color and shading. One dramatic spread features an adult Einstein pushing his child in a carriage, looking small against a backdrop that highlights some of the scientific puzzles that so engaged him. Through eloquent narrative and illustration, Brown offers a thoughtful introduction to an enigmatic man. This book will pique the interest of readers with little or no knowledge of Einstein.

Jones, T. E., Toth, L., Charnizon, M., Grabarek, D., Larkins, J., & Taniguchi, M. (2004). Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein (Book). School Library Journal, 50(10),  138-139.
Library Uses:
Good to use when talking about biographies and inventors. Most have heard of Einstein but don't know why he is important. Also good to read when talking about perseverance, not giving up, and being different.

My Rating: ***

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