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Author: Kulling, Monica
Illustrator: Slavin, Bill
Publisher: Tundra Books
Year Published: 2016
ISBN: 9781770495227
Grades: Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6

ZAP! Nikola Tesla Takes Charge

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With the current news about battery-powered cars arriving in the not-so-distant future, my grade 2 grandson, and other car enthusiasts are talking about “the Tesla”.  British Columbia author, Monica Kulling, introduces students to the man behind the name – Nikola Tesla – in her beautiful picture book aimed at Division 2 readers.  This non-fiction narrative explores Tesla’s emigration from Croatia to Manhattan to work with Edison, and electricity.  While Edison was focussed on direct current, Tesla is famous for developing the alternating current for electricity.  The text highlights his frustrations and successes as an important inventor of the twentieth century.  World class Canadian artist, Bill Slavin, has contributed full-page, pen and ink, digitally coloured illustrations on every double-page spread that are particularly effective at capturing the range of emotions Tesla experienced in his journey.  Zap! is the latest (2016) addition to Kulling’s well-known picture book series – Great Idea – that introduces biography to children, while celebrating great inventors, such as Eastman, Marconi, Zamboni, to name only a few. A useful resource to accompany the Grade 5 Science unit on Electricity, for inquiry projects about inventors, and for studying the genre of biographical writing.

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