On A Beam Of Light by Jennifer Berne


A simple, yet effective retelling of Einstein’s early life.

On A Beam Of Light by Jennifer Berne
On A Beam Of Light by Jennifer Berne
Suitable for both KS1 and KS2

Short Review:

A child friendly and uncomplicated approach to a biography, with delightful and engaging pictures to accompany the text.

The story keeps to the facts, without any complicated language. It is a great way of engaging children with thinking and questioning without over complicating the vocabulary or the scientific concepts that may pose difficulties when approaching Einstein.

It also provides children with basic facts around Einstein’s early life.

This doesn’t explain his scientific concepts, although does touch upon his idea that light travels.

Inspiration for activities:

1) Conduct an illustration walk through the book to predict what each picture represents.

2) Provide children with a statement (either one inspired from the illustration walk

or one of your own), children to create a response to the question, using the text to support their argument.

e.g. Albert Einstein was a slow learner.

In ‘On a Beam of Light’, Albert is stated to have ‘hardly said a word at all’ (page 6) at age 3. This could mean that he was a slow learner. On the other hand, the following page states that he ‘looked and wondered’; this implies that he was always thinking, and therefore he was probably learning too. Later on in the text, it says that ‘Albert began to read and study’ ‘but all that reading still didn’t answer all of Albert’s questions’. This could mean that he was a slow learner and found it difficult to understand what he was reading, or it could mean that as he learnt more, he wanted to know more; therefore his learning was constantly growing. I believe Albert was a thoughtful learning, rather than a slow learner, this is supported by the many scientists who referred to the adult Albert Einstein as a ‘genius’ (page 28).

3) Introduce the children to the concept of Thought Experiments – experiments that are conducted only through the imagination (think philosophically about this activity and trust that the children can be imaginative enough to be successful)

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