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Children's LiteratureWho once sailed with Christopher Columbus and purportedly searched for a fountain of youth? Although Columbus may be the most famous early explorer, Ponce de Leon certainly left his own mark on the New World in his exploration of Puerto Rico and Florida. Growing up as first a page then a knight, Ponce de Leon's skill and courage distinguished him before the king of Spain and earned him the privilege of claiming lands in the king's name. Though the fountain of youth is only a legend, Ponce de Leon did make important discoveries in the New World and dedicated the rest of his life to building new settlements there. His travels taught him about native crops and brought him friendly and unfriendly encounters with native peoples. His influence remains with us today—Florida is the Spanish name for "flowered one." This colorful introduction to Ponce de Leon includes not only details about his life and discoveries, but also information about life at sea, native peoples, and the fervor behind the Age of Exploration. The author is careful to note that no actual illustrations exist from the time period, and recognizes that some disputes exist over the conquistadors' descriptions of their explorations. 2006, Crabtree, and Ages 12 up.