Monday, March 7, 2011
Nonfiction Monday: A Wizard from the Start
A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood & Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison
by Don Brown
This picture book biography shows Thomas Edison's life from the time he was a young boy until he was an old man. We all know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but did you know that he also had 1038 other inventions? Edison's father was a farmer, a lumberer, a grocer, and the owner of a tower to which he charged 25 cents for a birds eye view of the land below. Thomas helped out on the family farm as a young boy. When Thomas's mother did not like how a teacher treated Thomas, she decided to homeschool him. Thomas read all sorts of books on all sorts of topics. He visited his public library and would read every book on a shelf before moving on to read the next shelf of books. Thomas Edison's parents encouraged his love of reading and they even encouraged him to conduct his own experiments in a lab that he set up in their cellar. As a teenager, Thomas worked on the railroad selling newspapers, candy, etc. to the train riders. Thomas worked very hard and he also worked very long days. Thomas continued reading books every chance he got. Young Thomas even printed his own newspaper and sold it to the train commuters. When Thomas began to lose his hearing, he began hanging around telegraph offices and learning the trade. He became a successful telegrapher and traveled all over America working as a telegrapher. He spent his spare time conducting experiments with the telegraph equipment and electricity. Eventually he quit his telegraph job to work full time developing his inventions. Thomas Edison's first patented invention was an electric vote recording machine. This invention was a failure and no one bought it. This experience made Edison focus on inventing items that people wanted and needed. He invented many things including stock tickers, the phonograph, and motion picture cameras. In 1879 he invented the electric light bulb, his most famous invention. Thomas Edison claims that he never worked a day in his life because he enjoyed what he did and thought it was fun.
The back of the book includes a one page description of Edison's life and explains a little about some of the effects and controversies of some of Edison's inventions. There is also a short list of books about Edison for further reading.
This book would be great for children who are learning about Thomas Edison, who are learning about biographies, or who are learning about inventions.
To read the rest of this week's post check out this week's host: Picture Book of the Day