Christensen, Bonnie. 2012. I, GALILEO. New York: Knopf. ISBN 9780375967535 [Suggested Grade Levels 4-6]
Young readers are introduced to the life of an amazing scientist ahead of his time in this beautiful picture book. Written from the point of view of Galileo, the author describes the scientist’s life, major discoveries and successes, his passion for astronomy, and persecution from church officials and other leading experts of his day. The afterword lists scientific advances based on Galileo’s work and concludes by stating the Catholic Church has since formally acknowledged it had been wrong to condemn Galileo’s theory of a sun-centered solar system.
Using the picture book format allows Galileo’s life and discoveries to be accessible for children. The text describes complex scientific knowledge in age appropriate language, which makes this a useful resource for elementary aged readers.
Christensen’s luminous artwork invites children to explore Galileo’s world. Endpapers provide a map of Renaissance Italy and the preface offers a 1564 map of the universe based on accepted scientific knowledge of the time. Vivid oil paintings of scenes from Galileo’s life are accompanied by reproductions of his diagrams and publications. Extensive notes at the end of the book include a detailed chronology, list of Galileo’s accomplishments in astronomy and physics, and websites for further research.
This book would make a wonderful addition to a collection about scientists and their contributions to our lives. Pair this book with non-fiction about astronomy for a space unit or encourage children to create physics experiments modeled after Galileo’s work.
Other books for children about Galileo’s scientific contributions:
Macdonald, Wendy. GALILEO’S LEANING TOWER EXPERIMENT. ISBN 9781570918704
Panchyk, Richard and Buzz Aldrin. GALILEO FOR KIDS: HIS LIFE AND IDEAS, 25 ACTIVITIES. ISBN 9781556525667
Sis, Peter. STARRY MESSENGER: GALILEO GALILEI. ISBN 9780374470272
By Kimberly C. Kinnaird