Carl Wilkinson (text) and James Weston-Lewis (illustrator), Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Laurence King Publishing, September 2020, 64 pp., RRP $35.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781786277510
At 370 by 275mm this is a large format book with a large topic – ‘Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity’ no less! To convey this complicated concept within a book, in such a way that children will understand and even enjoy, is no small challenge. I think though, the contributors of Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity go a long way towards achieving just that.
Whilst it is obviously a non-fiction text it is presented in a story-like fashion – beginning with Einstein as a boy, exploring what scientists and philosophers currently thought and then introducing Einstein’s own progression of scientific breakthroughs. For someone who is not particularly ‘sciency’, i.e. me, this format was a lot more accessible and the topic of physics not quite so daunting. The overall book is further broken down into approximately one topic per page spread, and the text on these pages are segmented into manageable chunks, rather than one long explanation.
This is not a book to be read in one sitting – rather readers could easily spend one day on just one topic – there are some heavy ideas that need time to be digested; gravity, time, space, light, relativity. The explanations though I thought were very good, describing concepts in relatable ways with the aid of pictures.
The illustrations by James Weston Lewis play a significant role in the appeal of this book. Each page spread is beautifully presented using a limited palette of simple block colours enhanced with considered details. The effect is quite dramatic and entertaining for the reader.
Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is a great example of children’s non-fiction done well and a wonderful resource for STEM/STEAM subjects. I highly recommend this book for children aged 10-15 years old.
Reviewed by Julie Bertola