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For Teachers

Florence: The Golden Age 1138-1737 by Gene Adam Brucker. (University of California Press, 1998)
A chronicle of the social, economic, religious, and cultural factors that led to Florence's preeminence during the Renaissance.

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life, Volume 3 edited by Joyce E. Salisbury. (Greenwood Press, 2004)
A comprehensive look at the lives of ordinary people in the 15th and 16th centuries — their clothes, food, culture, customs, beliefs, etc.

Inventing Leonardo by Richard A. Turner. (University of California Press, 1994)
A study of Leonardo's life and works and an analysis of how his reputation has grown and changed in the last four centuries.

The Italian Renaissance by Peter Burke, 2nd ed. (Princeton University Press, 1999)
An introduction to the period.

The Italian Renaissance by J.H. Plumb. (Mariner Books, 2001)
An overview of the period, with contributions from leading historians.

Leonardo by Martin Kemp. (Oxford University Press, 2004)
A comprehensive biography of the man and the artist, with illustrations and reproductions of paintings.

The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Volume I by Leonardo da Vinci. (Dover, 1970)
The first of a two-volume set, these are Leonardo's musings on painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, music, and more. In Italian and English.

For Students


The Amazing Thinking Machine by Dennis Haseley. (Dial, 2002)
Roy is an inventor. When his answer-what-is-asked machine actually seems to work, it has a surprising effect on his life.

The Apprentice by Pilar Molina Llorente. (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1989)
While serving as an apprentice to a famous artist in Renaissance Florence, Aarduino's courage is tested in ways that he could never have imagined.

Kat and the Missing Notebooks by Emma Bradford. (I Dolls, 1999)
The discovery of a time machine allows Kat to travel to Renaissance Italy where she meets Pietro, a young boy who wants to be an artist, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo and the Flying Boy by Laurence Anholt. (Barron's, 2000)
Leonardo's student, Zoro, is intrigued by the room with the locked door, but would never open it. The mischievous Salai convinces him to enter and they are amazed at what they find.

Leonardo's Hand by Wick Downing. (Houghton Mifflin, 2002)
Leonard Smith is an orphan and he has only one hand. He's bounced around in foster care and finally ends up in an old farm, where he meets a girl named Julie and a strange spirit. Together they accomplish remarkable things.

Midnight Magic by Avi. (Scholastic, 1999)
In this ghost story, a princess, a smart servant, and a magician who no longer believes in magic team up to solve a mystery in the castle of King Claudio of Pergamontio.

The Second Mrs. Giaconda by E. L. Konigsburg. (Atheneum, 1975)
Based on actual events, this work of fiction attempts to answer the question of why Leonardo da Vinci chose to paint a portrait of the second wife of a little-known merchant — the Mona Lisa — instead of the royals who begged him to paint their portraits.

The Stolen Smile by J. Patrick Lewis and Gary Kelley. (Creative Editions, 2004)
In 1911, the most famous painting in the Louvre Museum goes missing. Who has taken the Mona Lisa? (Based on actual events.)

Uh-Oh, Leonardo! by Robert Sabuda. (Atheneum, 2003)
When Providence Traveler finds what appears to be Leonardo da Vinci's previously undiscovered sketch for a mechanical mouse, she makes the machine herself. Suddenly she is transported back to Florence, Italy in 1503. For younger readers.


The Atlas of the Renaissance World by Neil Grant. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)
Learn all about the Renaissance in Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Florence in the 1400s by Marco Zelasco and Pierangelo Zelasco. (Harcourt, 2001)
Journey to the Past series. This "traveler's guide" will introduce you to the sights and sounds of Florence. Visit the Medici Palace, attend a ball at the Davizzi Palace, shop in the old market, or watch the race of the Berber horses.

Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer by Robert Byrd. (Dutton, 2003)
Many detailed pictures, quotes from Leonardo's notebooks, and facts about life in Italy add to the story of Leonardo's life and work.

Leonardo da Vinci by Diane Stanley. (Morrow, 1996)
Sketches and pictures from Leonardo's notebooks and paintings in a Renaissance style illustrate this biography of the great artist, inventor, and scientist.

Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance in World History by Allison Lassieur. (Enslow, 2000)
Leonardo's life and considerable talents are described in the context of the time in which he lived. Inspired by the arts and in the discoveries of his day, he had impact on almost every aspect of human knowledge and thinking.

Leonardo da Vinci for Kids: His Life and Ideas by Janis Herbert. (Chicago Review Press, 1998)
Learn about Leonardo and choose some of the 21 activities included in this book to do some of the things he did.

Leonardo's Horse by Jean Frtiz. (Putnam, 2001)
Not only a study of Leonardo's commission from the duke of Milan to create a huge sculpture of a horse, this is also the story of an American, Charles Dent, who revived the project in the 1970s.

Lorenzo de' Medici and Renaissance Italy by Miriam Greenblatt. (Marshall Cavendish, 2003)
Lorenzo de' Medici ruled the city-state of Florence in the 15th century and his power, political and financial skills, and interest in literature and the arts made Florence the center of the Renaissance.

The Mona Lisa by Jill Kalz. (Creative Education, 2005)
What in the World series. Leonardo's most famous painting is put into historical context.

Renaissance by Andrew Langley. (Knopf, 1999)
Eyewitness Books series. Covers an extensive range of topics, including religion, the arts, government, life at home, and trade.

The World in the Time of Leonardo da Vinci by Fiona MacDonald. (Chelsea House, 2001)
Leonardo's life and work is described and placed into context with important events and the ways people lived all around the world — in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Australia.


Here's What You Do When You Can't Find Your Shoe by Andrea Perry. (Atheneum, 2003)
The world can always use a few more ingenious contraptions, like those described in these silly poems. Find out what "Lem Lonnigan's Leaf Machine" does and how a "Maximumbrella" works!

Web Sites

Leonardo da Vinci
A virtual tour of the 1997 exhibit Leonardo da Vinci: Scientist, Inventor, Artist presented by Boston's Museum of Science. Also offers details about da Vinci's painting techniques, inventions, mirror writing, and more.

Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci
Thirty-nine examples of da Vinci's drawings.

Leonardo da Vinci: Master Draftsman
A Metropolitan Museum of Art site that offers online access to da Vinci's masterpieces, his drawings, a chronology of his life and work, and more.

National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci – Milano
This site showcases many of Leonardo's machines and manuscripts, and shows models of some of his drawings.

Leonardo da Vinci the Man and the Inventor
This site offers detailed information about individual paintings and drawings by Leonardo.

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