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“It’s perfect for bedtime reading, and one I’m sure kids will ask to have repeated often – and maybe even get inspired by.” -
Albert Einstein famously put emphasis on the power of imagination and so does Riding on a Beam of Light. When Einstein won the Nobel Prize, he credited his own boyhood idea of riding on a beam of light with the spark that led him to his theory of special relativity. In this intricately illustrated storybook, lights-out turns into learning but instead of a history lesson we transcend to see the world from young Albert Einstein’s point of view, with a sense of fascination and adventure reminsicent of Harold from Harold and the Purple Crayon and Max from Where the Wild Things Are. At it’s heart is a story about imagination and dreaming, with gorgeous illustrations that captures our grown-up hearts and our children’s curiosity. Can young minds change the world? Einstein proved it and now Riding on a Beam of Light brings that message to kids in terms they can celebrate on their scooter. So, turn the light on and off, discuss the speed of light, and have your child imagining what young Albert Einstein imagined as a child. This is a book parents can begin enjoying before the kids even understand language (or physics).
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” – Albert Einstein
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About this author
Riding on a Beam of Light came out of a conversation I had with my 11-year old son. He’s fascinated with stories of all kinds in books and movies. As long as he could write, he’s been writing down his ideas in many forms. The last couple years, he’s created reams of these ideas, some just notes, others comic books, even some movie scripts.
One day after getting one of these ideas down, he asked me if all these stacks of ideas would amount to anything. I saw it as a time of introspection and growth, his ideas developing with each story. Looking back, he might have been wondering how he came up with such silly ideas.
Silly? They were magic! Reality, as set in, was turning into set of limitations in his storytelling, so I gave him an example of where a young boy’s leaps into imagination led to the Noble Prize. Early on, Albert Einstein had his own fascinations, noticing one of those small things we see every day but don’t give much thought; light, much like faries and magic, move around us all the time - we can’t see it unless we look really close. Young Albert Einstein saw what few others saw, light moving from one place to the next. From the sun to the earth, and from the lamp to his face. And it moved so fast, you couldn’t actually see it, you just had to watch it, and think about it, and put your faith in it, and if you did, you could see something magic that many people never saw before.
Einstein enjoyed this idea so much he kept it with him, imagining what it would be like to move at the speed of light. He’d think of ways he could ride that light beam and it piqued his curiosity in the way our world worked and how he could unlock more of its mysteries. As the boy grew into a man, he became more practical in his application of what came to be known to him as theoretical physics, and made a name for himself by trying to fit the things he’d imagine into terms his colleagues might understand.
It was when the reality of his Theory of Relativity posed a conundrum that he found himself re-visiting his childhood idea. He questioned how his new theory would apply to someone riding on a beam of light, and he came up with the breakthrough idea he called “Special Relativity.” When he wrote about it, everyone else thought it was so special, they gave him a Noble Prize. In accepting the prize, Albert thanked his boyhood self for coming up with the thought that led to the this career-defining achievement in the grown-up world.
So I explained to my son, if Albert Einstein came up with one of his greatest ideas when he was a kid, what’s sitting in your stack of ideas? It could change the course of your life, or even change the world. I took a lamp and began turning it on and off to show him how a beam of light shoots across the room, and we started doing what we do best, making up a story about a kid who loved to use his imagination. Before we knew it, the idea had turned into a story and the story turned into a book that we called Riding on a Beam of Light!