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Starry Messenger (picture book) facts for kids

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Starry Messenger
Starry messenger cover.jpeg
First edition
Author Peter Sis
Cover artist Peter Sis
Country United States
Language English
Subject Biography
Published Square Fish; Reprint edition (2000)
Pages 40 p.

Starry Messenger, about Galileo Galilei, is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Peter Sis in 1996. It is a 1997 Caldecott Honor book. Through the use of his illustrations, Peter Sis documents different stages of life of the widely acknowledged scientist Galileo Galilei.


Starry Messenger written and illustrated by Peter Sis documents the life of the acclaimed scientist Galileo Galilei. Told from third person point of view and dating back to his birth, Sis walks the reader through the events that shape the life of the recognized scientist, mathematician, philosopher, and physicist, Galileo Galilei. The book opens with a prelude, with careful illustrations, Peter Sis sets the stage for the story by laying the groundwork of what the world was like during Galileo's era; scientifically, and religiously. He introduces the reader to the then accepted ideology of the Ptolemaic System, which stated that the Earth was the center of the Solar System. Sis describes Galileo as a boy "born with stars in his eyes", this metaphor will run throughout the length of the story connecting prominent events that occur within Galileo's life, including life as a child, a scholar, and later a scientist. Inter sped with Sis's original illustrations are excerpts of Galileo's actual drawings and excerpts of his Starry Messenger which documents Galileo's astronomical discoveries and observations especially the Copernican theory which got him in trouble with the Vatican Church. From being celebrated for his other astronomical discoveries to the controversial Copernican theory, Peter Sis documents these events with intricate illustrations that vividly resemble Galileo's own, adding depth to the story. The peak of the story occurs when Galileo's Copernican Theory reaches the Pope, and Galileo is viewed in negative light and criticism. Upon Galileo's summoning to the Vatican Church, he was forced to retract his earlier statements that contradicted with the ideologies of the Vatican Church regarding the placement of the Earth, or risk death. Galileo chose to retract his statements and was confined to house arrest for eight years before his death in 1642. The book ends on a positive note when Sis writes about the Pardon that was issued to Galileo more than three hundred years later in October 1992.

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