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I, Galileo
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I, Galileo

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  143 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Acclaimed author-illustrator Bonnie Christensen adopts the voice of Galileo and lets him tell his own tale in this outstanding picture book biography. The first person narration gives this book a friendly, personal feel that makes Galileo's remarkable achievements and ideas completely accessible to young readers. And Christensen's artwork glows with the light of the stars ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau by Michelle MarkelManfish by Jennifer  BerneOn a Beam of Light by Jennifer  BerneNoah Webster and His Words by Jeri Chase FerrisI, Galileo by Bonnie Christensen
Children's Picture Non Fiction/Biographies
5th out of 111 books — 12 voters
Blue on Blue by Dianne WhiteZ Is for Moose by Kelly BinghamGrandfather Gandhi by Arun GandhiInfinity and Me by Kate HosfordLast Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
VCFA Picture Books
12th out of 167 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 360)
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Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I loved this biography of astronomer Galileo for both its beautiful illustrations and its text. I like Christensen's artwork, especially the gorgeous 2-page title page, with its deep blues contrasted with Galileo's rich red robe and the pale yellow moon. When I first opened the book, I had to just gaze at those two pages for a while before moving on. Looking at it I could feel myself outside with him. Another picture that caught and held my attention was the 2-page spread of Galileo being tried ...more
Edward Sullivan
Handsomely desgined and illustrated, and a good introduction to Galileo but I'm not crazy about a first-person narration by Galileo for a biography.
Told in the first person, this look at Galileo’s life is made all the more personal through the unique point of view. Galileo tells the tale from the house and walled garden he is imprisoned in. Blind and aging, he recalls his childhood and the way that he helped his father with his musical experiments after leaving the university with no degree. He was offered a teaching position in the same university a bit later, but he refused to be traditional and instead wore what he liked and tested Arist ...more
This picture book is a biography of Galileo Galilei. He talks about everything that he has accomplished: experiments, inventions, improvements, and discoveries. During his time, Galileo was not well liked for questioning the beliefs that the Catholic Church upheld. Eventually, he is imprisoned in his own house for life.

I really enjoyed this book. I was learning new information without thinking it was a history lesson. I knew that Galileo was a very important influence in science, but I wasn't re
Sherry Elmer
A three star rating may seem like a negative, but I did like this book. I just can't say I "really" liked it.

On the plus side, the author does a good job telling the story. The ending is wonderful, and one gets the clear sense that although Galileo will spend the rest of his life under house arrest, he has nevertheless won his war for the truth.

However, while the first person narrative helps this book to feel like a story and not fact-crammed, textbook-style non-fiction, first person has its l
Galileo, inventor of the telescope and observer of the heavens, tells his own story in this children's biography. He explain his childhood in Pisa and academic interests, as well as his struggles to be accepted by his father and community. He describes the telescope that he invented and his observations: the surface of the moon, the phases of Venus, and the moons of Jupiter. These observations led him to conclude, like his predecessor Copernicus, that the sun is the center of the universe. The C ...more
Roberta Gibson
The picture book biography I, Galileo by Bonnie Christensen has been getting quite a bit of buzz around children’s literature circles, including a review in The New York Times and a Cybils nomination.

This buzz is well-deserved praise. Starting with the title written in glittery stars (at least in the hardcover version), Bonnie Christensen has nailed the details. Her illustrations create a mood of the times, which was appropriately dark like paintings that have aged. She also unexpectedly uses th
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 musi ...more
Sean Fowler
This is a great book to learn about Galileo, one the greatest discoverers in history. The book is told in first person form, so it almost feels as if there is a connection to the man himself. He was the first person to use a spyglass to view the vastness of space. His interest in the universe got him in trouble by the Catholic Church when he realized that there were other objects in space that did not orbit the Earth. This proved his theory that the Earth was not at the center of the solar syste ...more
Lin Lin
Galileo's father said " A person must be allowed to ask questions, and seek answers in search of truth." He listened to his father and challenged Aristotle's claim that a heavy object would fall faster than a light object. Through his observation-based reasoning, he challenged the popular belief that the sun, moon, planets and all the stars circled a motionless Earth, the proposal propolsed by Aristotle, refined by Ptolemy, and upheld by the Catholic Church. Using his telescope, Galileo confirme ...more
Gail Shipley
I enjoyed reading about the experiments Galileo did and can see students recreating the same ones. I find it interesting that the Roman Catholic church did not declare that Galileo was right that the sun was the center of our solar system until 1992. Book has 2 contrasting points of view and also teaches about sticking to your convictions which I like.
The story chronicles Galileo’s life from his perspective. The reader learns that he uses his telescope as a microscope and is able to describe the flea that would be the carrier for the bubonic plague. You learn about his struggles of dropping out of school and losing his first job. The book is also in a chronological form so it puts his life in context with other significant events of that time. The book contains information on his inventions, famous experiments, and astronomic discoveries.
I, Galileo is a a basic introduction to Galileo for very young kids. This book left my 3 rd grader and me frustrated because of its simplistic review of his life. This is suitable for k-1 graders or kids who are just being introduced to Galileo. The illustrations are worth picking the book up.
Rebecca Plaza
The first person approach really hooked me and would hook readers too.
Illustrations work well to convey his solar centric discovery, place, and arc of his life.
Very well done.
Biography, 2012

This text clearly portrayed the life of Galileo and the contributions to science and math and invention that he made.
Brittany & Kids
The story of Galileo's life told in first-person as he reminisces in his old age. I loved the painted illustrations. The book has plenty of information in story-book format, but was not terribly long. I stopped reading a few times to answer my 8yo's questions about something in the book, or to briefly explain my own opinions here and there. It gave us a good starting-point for discussion. I like the chronology timeline in the back that includes other things going on in the world along with Galil ...more
told from first person POV, the author captures the frustration and successes of Galileo.
Mrs.Melaugh Melaugh
This picture book biography, told from the viewpoint of an elderly Galileo looking back on his life, sums up his monumental accomplishments. It does a good job of explaining the complicated situation of the Catholic Church’s influence in Renaissance times and how Galileo ran afoul of the Pope. The lovely illustrations have a stained glass feel and contribute well to the story. The back matter was outstanding! Though it is only a 32 page picture book, there is a chronology, lists of experiments a ...more
Excellent biography for middle grade readers
3.5 stars
What an interesting man! As usual, I learned a lot...but I did wonder about the first person narration. (Sources are not clearly listed...but bibliography, websites, timeline and other resources are included in the back matter.) The book was very "readable" and the Galileo's discoveries were significant! Could not believe that it wan't until 1992 that the Catholic Church admitted it was wrong and that Galileo was right--Earth and the planets DO revolve around the sun. Great illustration
Sharon Lawler
From behind the walls of his home where he must remain per order of the Pope, an elderly, blind Galileo reflects on his life. His passion for experimentation and the truths to be discovered, led to his confinement as it contradicted the Church's teachings. Colorful illustrations surround the text as Galileo reminisces about his childhood and education, about his experiments and discoveries. Excellent notes-timeline, experiments, discoveries, glossary and bibliography.
This could be a great Battle of the Books choice. It's a simple biography, with enough information in the end notes for reports, that shows just what a genius Galileo was and how full of ups and downs his life was. I didn't know Galileo came up with the ideas for the pendulum clock, the thermometer, the compass, and the microscope as well as the telescope, or that he left college without graduating. Fast, fascinating read.
Great introduction to Galileo. I had mixed feelings about the First Person narrative. It makes you see the world as he saw it, but doesn't sit right for a biography. Calling your own invention "ingenious" sounds obnoxious - someone else calling it "ingenious" is a real compliment.

and really the Catholic Church changed their mind about Galileo in 1992? You have to ponder these things for 400 years or so.
Oct 06, 2012 Mary added it
Shelves: caoimhe, biography
Caoimhe: "What happened to Copernicus?"
Me, checking book, "They put him to death."
Caoimhe: "How?"
Me, checking book,: "They burned him at the stake."
Caoimhe: "What does that even mean?"
Me: "That they put him in a fire."
Caoimhe: "Like a marshmallow?"
Me: "Yes."
Caoimhe: "Because he said the sun was at the center and not the earth?"
Me: "Yes."
Caoimhe: "That's so silly."
Anja Manning
This book presents an honest look on the discoveries and the life of Galileo. Bonnie Christensen's illustrations are beautiful, creating a feel for the period, and an atmosphere of discovery and change.
The book includes maps, a chronology, and a list of Galileo's experiments, inventions, and discoveries. A glossary, bibliography and list of websites are also included.
Wonderfully informative children's biography about "the father of modern science." Great for any school library for possible biography reports or just for fun. Also fantastic for discussions about how Galileo was treated for his progressive thoughts more than 400 years ago and how differently scientists and scientific discoveries are viewed today.
Abby Johnson
A fine picture book biography of Galileo, but despite the first-person narration I didn't feel a real connection with this "father of modern science". I'd recommend Peter Sis's Starry Messenger instead.

PS: The Catholic Church didn't admit that Galileo was right and he shouldn't have been imprisoned until 1992?! Yikes!
Excellent biography of Galileo Galilei, who invented the telescope and microscope to see as much of life as he could. Beautifully told and richly illustrated, this book is a perfect way to introduce kids to the scientist who met up against the Inquisition in a search for truth. I loved every page, from the first to the last!
Patrick Antenucci
Story of Galileo from birth to his sad imprisonment. Illustrations are done so that the book carries and older feel to it. Galileo narrates as he takes the reader through the days of his greatest inventions and successes and to his unfortunate fall from favor. Lots of text makes me recommend it for children a bit older.
This pictorial biography is very well done, excellent illustrations, and the author does her best to explain the science and politics at what i would think is a third grade level.

I had not realized all the inventions that Galileo crested, and each is well explained.

a most enjoyable and informative book.
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