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William J. Boerst (1939–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

review reynolds morgan phelan

Born 1939; Education: State University of New York College at Fredonia, B.S. (education); also attended State University of New York College at Potsdam, Syracuse University, and College of Saint Rose. Politics: Democrat. Religion: "Atheist." Hobbies and other interests: Kayaking, reading, gardening.

Addresses

Office—Fenton 250, SUNY Fredonia, Fredonia, NY 14063.

Career

English teacher at a public school in northern New York, 1962–63; U.S. Peace Corps, Washington, DC, elementary schoolteacher in Liberia, 1963–65; teacher of English and speech at a high school in Watertown, NY, 1965–67; Board of Education, Jamestown, NY, junior high school teacher, then high-school English teacher, 1967–2000; writer, 2000–. State University of New York, Fredonia, lecturer in English. Founding member, Chautauqua Area Writers and Chautauqua County Writing/Reading Process Teachers.

Honors Awards

New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age designation, 2004, for Johannes Kepler: Discovering the Laws of Celestial Motion.

Writings

Isaac Asimov: Writer of the Future, Morgan Reynolds (Greensboro, NC), 1999.

Time Machine: The Story of H.G. Wells, Morgan Reynolds (Greensboro, NC), 2000.

Edgar Rice Burroughs: Creator of Tarzan, Morgan Reynolds (Greensboro, NC), 2000.

Generous Anger: The Story of George Orwell, Morgan Reynolds (Greensboro, NC), 2001.

Tycho Brahe: Mapping the Heavens, Morgan Reynolds (Greensboro, NC), 2003.

Johannes Kepler: Discovering the Laws of Celestial Motion, Morgan Reynolds (Greensboro, NC), 2003.

Isaac Newton: Organizing the Universe, Morgan Reynolds (Greensboro, NC), 2004.

Galileo Galilei and the Science of Motion, Morgan Reynolds (Greensboro, NC), 2004.

Contributor of articles, poems, and short fiction to periodicals, including English Journal, Language Arts, Iowa English Bulletin, Not Your Average Zine, Poet, and Artifacts. Newsletter editor, Vegetarian Society of Chautauqua/Allegheny.

Sidelights

Before turning to writing full time in 2000, William J. Boerst worked for many years as an English teacher. Among his books for young readers, many focus on noted inventors and theorists, among them Isaac Newton: Organizing the Universe, Galileo Galilei and the Science of Motion, and Tycho Brahe: Mapping the Heavens. Part of the "Renaissance Scientists" series, Galileo Galilei was praised for its balance between the personal and the scientific; in Booklist Carolyn Phelan wrote: "Unusually detailed and free from the taint of legend," Boerst's biography of the noted astronomer and physicist "is more complex, more understandable, and probably more accurate" than similar works for younger readers.

In Isaac Newton Boerst delves into the life of the seventeenth-century British mathematician credited with devising the three laws of motion and reveals Newton's introverted nature. From birth through his death at age eighty-four, the reclusive Newton made a number of notable discoveries, and devoted much of his adult life to study and research. Boerst's "well-written book makes an excellent choice for teens exploring scientists or just looking for a good biography," according to Jenna Miller in School Library Journal, while Phelan commented that in Isaac Newton the biographer "offers a vivid portrayal of Newton's difficult childhood and adolescence."

Boerst provides readers with a detailed background of another of the world's most notable scientists, this time an astronomer, in Tycho Brahe. In addition to discussing the Danish Brahe's astronomical observations—made in the 1500s, prior to the invention of the telescope—Boerst also provides readers with a detailed account of the man's upringing, education, career, and personality. One fascinating personal revelation is that Brahe wore a silver and gold nose for much of his life, having lost his own in a sword fight. Phelan, writing in Booklist, stated that "Boerst provides a clearly written account" of the legendary astronomer.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 1, 1998, Roger Leslie, review of Isaac Asimov: Writer of the Future, p. 657; January 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of Time Machine: The Story of H.G. Wells, p. 908; July, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of Edgar Rice Burroughs: Creator of Tarzan, p. 2019; March 15, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Tycho Brahe: Mapping the Heavens, p. 1316; June 1, Carolyn Phelan, review of Johannes Kepler: Discovering the Laws of Celestial Motion, p. 1789; November 1, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Galileo Galilei and the Science of Motion, p. 488; February 1, Carolyn Phelan, review of Isaac Newton: Organizing the Universe, p. 967; June 1, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of Generous Anger: The Story of George Orwell, p. 1858.

School Library Journal, January, 2001, Marilyn Fairbanks, review of Edgar Rice Burroughs, p. 138; August, 2003, review of Johannes Kepler, p. 170; December, 2003, Todd Morning, review of Galileo Galilei and the Science of Motion, p. 164; April, 2004, Jenna Miller, review of Isaac Newton, p. 166.

Voice of Youth Advocates, October, 2000, review of Time Machine, p. 284; June, 2001, review of Edgar Rice Burroughs, p. 137; February, 2004, Morgan Reynolds, review of Tycho Brahe, p. 517.

ONLINE

Morgan Reynolds Web site, http://www.morganreynolds.com/ (April 11, 2006).

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almost 2 years ago

I must express my heartfelt gratitude for all Mr. Boerst has done for me. Of any liberal arts educator I have ever encountered throughout my educational experience; his English class was a true enlightment; one I feel should be practiced by all who acknowledge the internal clarity necessary for such an ambitious undertaking.