I have heard it said that people who are passionate about their work are the ones who are effective in society. Thomas Edison: Inspiration and Hard Work, a biography by Janet and Geoff Benge, proves through example that it can, indeed, be the case. From his childhood as a curious boy named Al, through his career as an inventor who worked tirelessly to develop the light bulb, this book traces Thomas Alva Edisonís life through both trial and triumph.
As a boy, Edison was bright-minded with an insatiable (and sometimes dangerous) thirst for knowledge. At the grand old age of six, his experiment to find out what kinds of things fire would burn ended up burning down his familyís barn. The water that finally quenched the flames did nothing to quench his curiosity, however. As he got older, Edison grew curious about more complex things. He went to work for the railroad, where he learned about telegraphy, and eventually formed a company to implement some of his improvements to the telegraph. These were not the last of either Edisonís jobs or business ventures. He was fired more times than he could count (usually as a result of some accident caused by his experimentation), and his curiosity kept him constantly delving into new scientific enterprises. Among Edisonís other undertakings were improving the telephone, developing one of the first motion picture cameras, and researching X-rays for medical use, not to mention his infamous creation of the longer-burning light bulb.
This book is written in a simple, narrative style that will appeal to older elementary students, identifying with Edison as a child, using conversations as they might have occurred, and handling the more sensitive issues of Edisonís life simply and carefully. For example, Edisonís involvement with Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla is not explored in any depth; the only mention is that Edison thought Tesla impractical. The authors do an excellent job of placing Edison historically by linking events in his life with the national events that were occurring simultaneously.
When I finished this book, I felt like I had much better comprehension of who Edison was and how he contributed to our society and our lifestyles. Thomas Edison is a good resource for parents or teachers of mid- to upper-elementary students, though it is a nice, unencumbered book for anyone who is seeking a basic understanding of Edisonís life. Ė Lyndi Markus, Christian Book Previews.com
With only three months of formal education, Thomas Edison grew up to be one of the most successful inventors of all time. Applying scientific principles to practical use, he made scores of inventions and held over thirteen hundred patents, from improvements on the telegraph and phonograph to the development of the incandescent lamp and a whole system for distributing electricity. (1847-1931)
Edison's rise from humble beginnings and his unceasing struggle to overcome obstacles illustrate the spirit of America. His genius and investigative methods shaped the future and continue to influence new generations.