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About the Book

Who Was Albert Einstein? by Jess Brallier

Everyone knows that Albert Einstein was a brilliant man. But did you know that he struggled in school? He was even kicked out! Did you know that even though Einstein created the theories behind the atomic bomb, he was a peace lover? Read about this great thinker and the important world events that shaped his life.

Summary

Albert Einstein was one of the world’s most famous scientists and a brilliant thinker. Early on, though, he was a student who struggled with high school and was even expelled. After deciding that he wanted to study physics in college, he finished his high school education. Many of the things that Einstein wrote about became the greatest scientific achievements of the twentieth century—electronics, the atom bomb and space travel. Einstein lived in Switzerland and Germany but was forced to leave Germany when Hitler and the Nazis put out a death warrant for him. Despite the fact that he hated war and weapons, he encouraged the United States to develop an atomic bomb because he feared what would happen if the Nazis were the only ones with this power. He became a United States citizen and lived the rest of his life in Princeton, NJ.

About the Author

Jess Brallier is the author of more than thirty books. His books include the No Sweat Science Projects series: Shadowy Science, Bouncing Science, Hairy Science, and Thumbs Up Science. He has written books for adults and for young readers.

Related Websites

Genre

“I want to be like him!”
“Wow! She really worked hard to make a difference!”
“I think I’ll be an astronaut too!”

These students are reading biographies and have found heroes and heroines worth looking up to. These books tell the life stories of real people. They inspire children to try to achieve greatness. More...

Thinking and Reading Questions

  1. Why did Einstein leave Germany and become a US citizen?
  2. Einstein wanted peace for the world. What was his opinion about nuclear weapons? What events shaped his beliefs?
  3. The author included many quotations in the book. Which one do you find most interesting? Why?
  4. What words would you use to describe Einstein? What do you think were his greatest contributions to the world?
  5. What do you think it takes to be a great scientist?

Issues to Consider

  • Content ties to complex background information on the topics of World War II (Hitler and Nazis), anti-Semitism, nuclear weapons (the atomic bomb), and the theory of relativity.
  • The last chapter includes information about Einstein donating his brain to science after his death.
  • The author has interspersed many drawings, which visual learners might enjoy but that some readers might find interrupts the sequence of events.
  • Does not include a bibliography or index.

Features

  • Pages: 101
  • Reading level: Lexile, 810L; Accelerated Reader, 5.8
  • Special book features: introduction, black-and-white cartoon illustrations, full-page informational sidebars to provide readers with background details about world events significant to Einstein’s life story, several quotes throughout the book, a timeline of Einstein’s life, and a timeline of world events.

Vocabulary

Word: brilliant
Book: Yet he was one of the most brilliant people that the world has ever known. (p. 1)
Context: The brilliant student solved all the math problems on the test.

Word: compass
Book: Albert was also fascinated by the compass that his father had given him. (p. 7)
Context: The hiker looked at his compass to find his way North. 

Word: genius
Book: What’s to be done with a genius? (p. 14)
Context: He was a creative genius who shared new ideas with the world. 

Word: theories
Book: The study of other scientists’ theories pushed Albert’s thinking even further. (p. 24)
Context: He wanted to prove his theories about how the world worked. 

Word: scientist
Book: Now he was a real scientist. (p. 24)
Context: The scientist studied nature to find out how things worked. 

Word: physics
Book: He decided to study physics at college. (p. 27)
Context: He liked physics because he learned about what things were made of and how they moved. 

Word: patent
Book: Albert ended up taking a job with the Swiss Patent Office. (p. 33)
Context: A patent was given to the inventor of the phone.  

Word: fame
Book: Albert’s fame brought him thousands of letters from people all over the world. (p. 69)
Context: The well-known athlete was honored in the Hall of Fame

Word: invent
Definition: to think up, to create for the first time
Context: He worked hard to invent a new kind of bicycle.

Word: dream
Definition: a goal that you long for
Context: His dream is to learn to fly.

Word: perseverance
Definition: to do something in a determined way even if you face problems
Context: He showed perseverance when he didn’t give up.

Word: experiment
Definition: a test done in order to learn something
Context: He is doing an experiment to see if plants need light to grow.

Word: curious
Definition: interested in learning about things around you
Context: I was curious to know what would happen next.

Word: analyze
Definition: to study something carefully to discover more about it
Context: When it didn’t work, he tried to analyze why.