Secret Garden of George Washington Carver (The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver)

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Book Information

Illustrator
Publisher
Katherine Tegen Books January 2020
Curriculum
Science Curriculum

The inspirational story of George Washington Carver and his childhood secret garden is brought to life in this picture book biography by the author-illustrator team behind Muhammad Ali: A Champion Is Born.

When George Washington Carver was just a young child, he had a secret: a garden of his own.

Here, he rolled dirt between his fingers to check if plants needed more rain or sun. He protected roots through harsh winters, so plants could be reborn in the spring. He trimmed flowers, spread soil, studied life cycles. And it was in this very place that George’s love of nature sprouted into something so much more—his future.

Gene Barretta’s moving words and Frank Morrison’s beautiful paintings tell the inspiring life and history of George Washington Carver, from a baby born into slavery to celebrated botanist, scientist, and inventor. His passion and determination are the seeds to this lasting story about triumph over hardship—a tale that begins in a secret garden.---from the publisher

40 pages                                    78-0062430151                        Ages 4-9

Keywords:  biography, African American, slavery, scientist, botanist, garden, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, 9 year old, diversity, diverse books

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George Washington Carver is best known as an agricultural expert who discovered versatile uses for the peanut. This story focuses on his first garden. Hidden beneath the trees where no one could tease or belittle him, Carver studied nature and the "more he experimented, the more he learned." The narrative starts in 1921 with Carver addressing Congress on the importance of the peanut and impressing an audience of white men at a time when "African- Americans were…treated as second-class citizens." Readers are then transported back to 1874, to the Missouri farm where Carver was born into slavery, and then to the end of slavery and the planting of his first garden. The narrative then focuses on Carver's determined search for education and finally his work as a teacher at the Tuskegee Institute. The beautiful oil on board illustrations show the wonder of young Carver as he contemplates the petals on a flower or the first green sprouts of spring. Barretta's prose, combined with Morrison's art, fully illuminates the depth of Carter's considerable contributions to the science of agriculture, the farming community, and racial equality. Back matter includes a time line of Carver's life, a bibliography, and suggestions for further reading. VERDICT A well-thought-out biography that highlights a different side of Carver and will be a first purchase for school and public library collections.

My review first appeared in School Library Journal, December 2019.

Recommended by:  Suzanne Costner, Librarian, Tennessee USA

See more of her recommendations:  https://fveslibrary.blogspot.com/

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