Nikola Tesla is enjoying something of a geek-culture renaissance. After years of being “that other guy who did electricity,” he’s recently been portrayed in books, film and TV, including as a vampire on SyFy’s series Sanctuary. His achievements and inventions power our world even today, and while Thomas Edison still outranks him in name recognition, Nikola Tesla has him beat in cool.
In Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up The World, author Elizabeth Rusch makes Tesla accessible to young readers. She does an admirable job of explaining the science behind his discoveries in kid-friendly language while portraying the his David vs. Goliath struggle with Edison. (Spoiler: Edison comes out looking pretty bad.) Lively illustrations by Oliver Dominguez will help children visualize his inventions.
As with most picture book biographies, more detailed information is provided in text-heavy sections in the back of the book. What really sets this book apart, however, is a four page section entitled Scientific Notes. Here Rusch and Dominguez have included detailed diagrams of some of the scientific information, along with a more detailed description of how Tesla lit a light bulb using his hand, one of the more vibrant anecdotes in the book. This book is absolutely a must-have for young science buffs.
Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World by Elizabeth Rusch; Candlewick; c2013