Sunday, September 27, 2009

Odd Boy Out

I love this book. The more I read of his work, the more Don Brown is one of my favorite authors.  In Odd Boy Out he tells the story of Albert Einstein as a young boy who spends most of his time alone, spends hours building houses of cards, and provokes his teachers.  It's such a well-crafted book and focuses on Einstein's as he finds himself the "odd boy" at school.  It portrays Einstein's childhood in a surprising and poignant way.  The illustrations (I have the older version) are thought provoking and portray Einstein's life in the perfect combination of watercolor and pen-and-ink.  It follows Einstein from infancy to adulthood... and the author's notes are especially interesting.  It's an intriguing text.

     I use this book in a study of endurance and also share it with parent groups.  It tells the story of a unique man with such a melancholy and sad childhood.  One of my favorite lines is "The 'mindless and mechanical method of teaching caused me great difficulties,' he said.  'I would rather let all kinds of punishment descend upon me than learn to rattle something off by heart." 
     My students loved hearing the book and our discussions were rich and thought-provoking.  Not a new book, but certainly one worth exploring again.

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