Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Meet Christopher Columbus

Meet Christopher Columbus

James T. de Kay
For ages 7 to 9
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2001   ISBN: 978-0375812101

For many years the people of Europe had relied on Arabs to bring them spices and other luxury goods from countries to the east; from Cathay, India and Cipango. They resented the fact that the Arab traders who brought the spices to Europe charged high prices. Furthermore the Arab rulers would not let the Europeans cross their lands to the east to get to the places where the spices came from. For a long time the Europeans were forced to accept this situation. There was nothing that they could do about it.

Then an Italian sailor called Christopher Columbus who was living in Portugal in the late 1400's decided that it was time for a change. He was sure that one could get to Cathay by sailing west as well. After all the Earth is round and one should be able to get to Cathay either by going east or west. The problem was that no one had sailed east across the great Western Ocean before; no one know how big it was either. Many people said that such a journey was impossible.

Columbus believed that the journey could be made. He was determined to go to the places mentioned in Marco Polo's account by sailing west. It took Christopher many years before he was able to persuade someone to sponsor his venture, but eventually Queen Isabella of Spain agreed to give Christopher two ships. Columbus rented a third and in August of 1492 the three ships set sail for the Indies.

This "Landmark Books" title will give young readers a clear picture of what Columbus' life and times were like. Readers will be able to appreciate how determined Columbus was to make his epic trip.