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Book Review: Copernicus: Founder of Modern Astronomy (Great Minds of Science) by Catherine M. Andronik

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Copernicus is inarguably one of the greatest minds of science. His contributions to modern astronomical understanding have earned him a permanent position in the hall of science’s greatest (and bravest) innovators. His story and rediscoveries are those that every child should become familiar with in the course of their education. Simply put, his story is a foundational stone in modern science. In order to study the development of science chronologically, one simply cannot move on to Kepler, Newton, or other scientific giants until Copernicus is understood at a basic level at least.

Copernicus: Founder of Modern Astronomy is part of Enslow’s Great Minds of Science series. These biographies for young readers are quite comprehensive, and the revised editions are colorful as well. Filled with details from Copernicus’ life, it also includes a full index, a chronological timeline of astronomy from the time of Copernicus to the present day, and even some hands-on activities for budding astronomers.

The content can be a bit dry from time to time (written more in a textbook style), but is more in depth than any other title for children that I’ve read on this great scientist. Potential purchasers should be aware that the vocabulary can be a bit tricky from time to time for young readers as technical terms are included (astronomical tools etc.) For many young readers the best parts will be the visuals provided alongside the text: portraits of Copernicus, drawings of astronomical devices, images of other important figures etc.

This solid, serviceable biography is best purchased in hardcover – Enslow’s hardcovers are truly superb. They are built like tanks and just don’t play out. Due to the comprehensive coverage and indexes and notes that allow this title to be used as a reference work, I highly recommend it as an addition to school libraries and those seeking a strong biography to round out their elementary level study of astronomy.

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