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Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei: 12/03/11
Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei by Peter Sís for my astronomy materials for children ages 5 to 8 project. One of our requirements was to include a biography relevant to the topic. Starry Messenger was the most interesting of the books on hand that fit the project.
The title comes from the notebook Galileo Galilei kept for most of his life. He worked with then cutting edge technology, the telescope, to make observations supporting Copernicus's theory that the earth and planets revolve around the sun.
Peter Sís's text focus mostly on Galileo's life and less on his work in astronomy, mathematics or physics. It does though mention his trial for heresy and eventual house arrest. Sís's pen and ink drawings mimic Renaissance sketches, fitting perfectly with the time period of Galileo's life.
The sidebar includes further information about the astronomer's life and research but is written in the style of Galileo's own handwriting, making it difficult to read at the same time the story is being read aloud to students. Those sidebars should be read ahead of time and notes taken that can be referred to as the book is being presented. By including information on Galileo's trial, children learn that scientific study can involve risks but is still worth the effort, even if the pardon comes after one's death.