“You’re a very clever boy, Einstein, an extremely clever boy. But you have one great fault: you’ll never let yourself be told anything.”

 -Heinrich Weber, Einstein’s professor at Zurich Polytech Institute

By now, those who follow our book reviews know we are big fans of the Chicago Review Press for Kids series, as Debbie Glade has reviewed quite a few of these. Find out why Debbie feels this book about Einstein is one of the most informative and fascinating titles in the series.

I picked up my review copy of Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities and Thought Experiments, and could not put it down. It wasn’t at the top of my gigantic review pile, but I was too eager to wait to read it and happily plucked it from the middle of the stack. Lucky for me, I found distraction-free time to read it on a three-hour flight. This made it easy to savor every word of the book’s 126 pages and study the historic black and white photographs.

I’ll start by disclosing that my daughter is a college junior studying geology, requiring that she take several advanced physics classes. She has accelerated my interest in science by patiently sharing with me, in layman’s terms, some of what she has learned through her own studies. I am well aware that not all readers share my thirst for knowledge on the subject of science, but that thirst is not a requirement for thoroughly enjoying this book. Albert Einstein’s scientific contributions to the world were so great that any person, age 9 and older can greatly benefit from reading this book.

As I  finished the last page of Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids, I thought about how the general public has come to believe Einstein, a scientist with unkempt hair, who never wore socks, was a brilliant man– so brilliant that we cannot possibly understand the basics of what his scientific theories mean. Author and science teacher, Jerome Pohlen proves that all wrong. Through his clear and clever explanations, Pohlen will help children (and adults!) understand the primary elements of the equation E=mc2 and the basic principals of Special Relativity and General Relativity, as well as all of Einstein’s other scientific discoveries. Surely, explaining complicated theories on physics to children is an imposing task, so I must highly commend the author on his success.

E=mc2

“Mass and energy, different forms of the same thing.”

What your child will learn in this book is way too great for summarizing, but here is a list of some highlights:

  • Scientists all benefit from the theories, proven or not, of the scientists who were here before them and who work alongside them.
  • No matter how brilliant a man may be, success may be long coming.
  • Einstein was an independent thinker, and although he was not a good student in college, he had an unmatched ability to process mathematical and scientific information into provable theories.
  • Einstein’s personal life was not as successful as his professional life.
  • Einstein was a kind and generous man.
  • Einstein was a broad-minded thinker who was outspoken about his views.
  • Einstein’s findings were credited for the development of the atomic bomb, quite an irony to his views opposing war.

In addition to enjoying the eight excellent chapters in the book and sidebars with fascinating facts about other scientists and important figures in Einstein’s life, readers will delight in the 21 suggested activities in the book. From using a microwave and marshmallow Peeps to learn about the speed of light to driving in a car with your parents to learn about relative motion, these activities add an additional element of hands-on learning for readers.

What I love about this book is …everything! It’s fascinating, informative and essential, plus curious kids will love and understand it. Our country is greatly lacking in the number of scientists, and books like these are the best way to get children interested from an early age. If you have always wondered about Einstein’s life and his Theories of Relativity, you too will love reading this book.

Einstein changed the world of science forever, and surely there’s a child out there somewhere who will have a similar impact on the world some day. Perhaps that child is yours.

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