NONFICTION

Nikola Tesla for Kids: His Life, Ideas, and Inventions, with 21 Activities

Chicago Review. (For Kids). Jul. 2019. 144p. bibliog. notes. photos. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9780912777214.
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Gr 5-8–Given the popularity of the electric cars named after him, this biography about Tesla is a timely addition to the “For Kids” series. Throughout seven chapters, O’Quinn provides a comprehensive sketch of Tesla’s life including his childhood in Croatia, schooling in Europe, immigration to the States, and subsequent career. The author presents a balanced view of both Tesla’s genius and ingenuity and his struggles with mental health and finances. Side bars that explain background information about events and people pivotal to the time period and topic will help readers gain necessary context. The book’s many images depict examples of Tesla’s inventions, period-appropriate pictures of places mentioned, and Tesla himself. Although the text lends itself to the older end of middle grade students, the featured activities are accessible and suitable for younger readers. Within the 21 activities, readers will find a variety of opportunities ranging from scientific, such as “solar oven s’mores,” to research and writing, such as a virtual visit to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The activities can generally be accomplished with standard household items and have clear directions to ensure success.
VERDICT A useful addition to a library serving middle grade students who enjoy biographies, science, and scientific activities.

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