A Life Electric: The Story of Nikola Tesla by Azadeh Westergaard, illustrated by Julia Sarda


A Life Electric: The Story of Nikola Tesla by Azadeh Westergaard, illustrated by Julia Sarda. Viking. 2021. 9780593114605

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review)  5

Format:  Hardcover

Genre: Biography

What did you like about the book:  A wonderfully written and illustrated biography of the important electrical engineer and inventor, Nikola Tesla.   As a child, he was born during a lighting storm and his mother declared he was ‘a child of light’.    An eccentric child he grew up playing with animals on his family farm in Serbia, loved books, and had a gift for inventions.  Nikola dreamed of working with electricity but his father was a priest and wanted him to follow in his footsteps. But then Nikola became deathly ill and his father changed his mind and allowed his son to pursue his passions.  He went on to study electrical engineering and worked with Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.  Nikola held a number of patents, including radar, x-ray, remote control technology, wireless radio communications, and his greatest invention, the AC induction motor that uses alternating currents to distribute electricity, which became the standard for electricity distribution.  Later in life, his love of animals remained and he was deemed, “Pigeon charmer of NY”.    A beautifully told story of  perseverance and following your dreams that was informative and enlightening.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?  A great read aloud for a discussion on electricity or a STEM week and following your passions.

Who should buy this book?  Elementary schools, home and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ?  Biography picture book

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Julie Durmis, L.G. Nourse Elementary School, Norton, MA

Date of review:  October 3, 2021

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