Oregon Book Award Finalist Elizabeth Rusch

You can cast your vote for the 2015 Readers’ Choice Award online at www.literary-arts.org/voteOBA! The winner will be announced at the Oregon Book Awards ceremony on April 13 at the Gerding Theater at the Armory.

Between now and April 13, we will be featuring all of the 2015 Oregon Book Awards finalists.

ElectricalWizard2015 Oregon Book Awards Finalist

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World by Elizabeth Rusch


Children’s Literature


Candlewick Press

About the book:

When a Serbian boy named Nikola Tesla was three, he stroked his cat and was enchanted by the electrical sparks. By the time he was a teenager, he had made a vow: Someday I will turn the power of Niagara Falls into electricity. Here is the story of the ambitious young man who brought life-changing ideas to America, despite the obstructive efforts of his hero-turned-rival, Thomas Edison. From using alternating current to light up the Chicago World’s Fair to harnessing Niagara to electrify New York City and beyond, Nikola Tesla was a revolutionary ahead of his time. Remote controls, fluorescent lights, X-rays, speedometers, cell phones, even the radio — all resulted from Nikola Tesla’s inventions. Established biographer Elizabeth Rusch sheds light on this extraordinary figure, while fine artist Oliver Dominguez brings his life and inventions to vivid color.

About the author:

Elizabeth Rusch’s award-winning books for kids include Eruption!A Day with No Crayons, The Next Wave, and the graphic novel Muddy Max. Her titles have been named best book of the year by SLJ, Booklist, Kirkus, NBC News, and the New York Public Library.

Excerpt from Electrical Wizard

The night of Nikola Tesla’s birth, lightning zapped, crackled, and flashed overhead. For years after, booming thunder drew the poor Serbian boy to the window of his family’s small house. Nikola gazed, mystified, as electrical bolts ricocheted across the sky.

One evening, when he was three, Nikola stroked his cat, Macak. The cat’s fur snapped with tiny sparks. “What is it?” Nikola wondered. Was it some kind of wizardry?

“Electricity,” his father explained, “the same thing you see through the trees in a storm.”

Enchanted by the sparkling halo his hands had conjured, Nikola wonder what other magic he could perform.

Elizabeth Rusch’s website:



Kirkus Review

“This is a lively introduction to the life of an important figure in technology, someone whose ideas are still at the center of today’s world. … An engaging volume that will encourage both budding scientists and anyone intrigued by the creative process.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers

“[A] compelling biography… Told from Tesla’s point of view, readers will root for Tesla to win the contract to light up the Chicago World’s Fair… The text and back matter, filled with clear scientific notes on electricity, will lead readers to seek out additional information on this fascinating subject.”

The Horn Book

“Stylized illustrations … show the drama of the man: formally dressed, showcasing his ideas at the Chicago World’s Fair; harnessing the hydroelectric power of Niagara Falls with a giant generator; and basking in the lights of Broadway after turning them on. The back matter is particularly strong, including an essay covering Tesla’s other ideas and accomplishments; diagrams and notes that explain his scientific processes; a biographical piece about Edison, emphasizing his infamous mean streak; documentation; a bibliography; and a sophisticated recommended reading list.”


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