Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
FORMAT: Picture Book, Biography
AGES: 6 – 12
This biography of Galileo explains to young readers not only who he is but what happened to one of the greatest scientists who would not give up learning and discovering science because of popular perceptions. The book has beautiful illustrations that go over prevalent beliefs when Galileo first started learning about science—the universe revolved around the Earth, gravity acted differently according to weight, etc. It also shows some of the ideas that Galileo helped pioneer—mathematics and music theory, astronomy, navigation. Young readers will learn who this brilliant man was and why people tried to lock him and his ideas up.
My favorite part about this book is the illustrations. I love the dark, crisp black lines that outline the illustrations. The map of Italy on the end pages with symbols and names of various places that Galileo lived is a nice touch to help readers understand where he lived and how he traveled and worked around Italy. The little historical touches in the text and the illustrations help to give readers the sense of just how different life was for Galileo. For example one of my favorite illustrations is that of the plague doctor. Readers who look at that illustration will be in no doubt that life was definitely different for Italians during Galileo’s lifetime. Touches like a list of chronological events or Galileo’s experiments and inventions/improvements and discoveries are especially helpful to readers who are doing school reports on this famous scientist.
Book Discussion Questions:
Why was the Catholic Church so upset with Galileo?
What inventions, discoveries, or experiments did Galileo do that changed how you live today?
Why wouldn’t people listen to Galileo even after he had scientific proof?
Are there any subjects that Galileo studied that you are interested in?