The Boy Whose Head Was Filled with Stars: A Story about Edwin Hubble

Enchanted Lion. Oct. 2020. 52p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781592703173.
Gr 2-5–Edwin Hubble, a white American astronomer, loved looking at the stars in the Missouri sky. Though his father discouraged his fascination, his grandfather built him a telescope for his eighth birthday. As he gazed into the night, he wondered, “How many stars are in the sky? How did the universe begin? Where did it come from?” These three questions are repeated throughout the book. Hubble’s father did not want his son to study astronomy. Hubble studied law at the University of Oxford in England before becoming a teacher and basketball coach. When his father died in 1914, he was free to pursue his true calling. He got a job at the Mount Wilson Observatory, home to the world’s largest telescope. There he studied the Andromeda Nebula to determine if other galaxies existed. Drawing on the work of Henrietta Swan Leavitt, he was able to prove that the Nebula was too far away to be part of the Milky Way galaxy. While Hubble did help build the Hale telescope and was the first to use it in 1949, he did not build the Hubble, which bears his name. Marcero’s illustrations, rendered in acrylic, watercolor, pencil, and ink, use a primary palette of blue, black, and gray. Readers will appreciate Hubble’s passion and perseverance. They will also marvel at the great size of the telescopes when they see him seated inside. While the text is generally brief and accessible, several diagrams, maps, and more complex explanations are included. However, the bulk of technical information is appended in two notes for true enthusiasts.
VERDICT A quiet, inspirational picture book biography.

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