The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver by Gene Barretta

The Secret Garden of George Washington CarverThe Secret Garden of George Washington Carver by Gene Barretta; illustrated by Frank Morrison. 2020. Oil on illustration board. Published by Katherine Tegen Books.

Brief summary: This narrative biography begins in 1874 with a young  ten year old George Carver watering his plants in his secret Missourian garden. Through George’s love of botany and nature around him, he learns of the benefits of those plants and shares this knowledge with others. He attends Iowa Agricultural College. Booker T. Washington hires George to teach the people about agriculture.  He began experimenting with new crops to replace cotton, because that crop was destroying the land.  He discovers peanuts do well in the South. Carver travels and educates people about how to farm better and the many beneficial uses of peanuts.

Comments: Wow! I had no idea that there are 300 uses for peanuts. The book did not list any of those, so I’ll have to do some research. Maybe that would be a good topic for students to research and share.

Timeline, bibliography, and further reading sections are in the back.

Beautiful and inspirational illustrations. The cover caught my eye.

Doing Her Bit: A Story About the Woman’s Land Army of America by Erin Hagar

Doing Her Bit: A Story About the Woman's Land Army of America by Erin Hagar

Doing Her Bit: A Story About the Woman’s Land Army by Erin Hagar; illustrated by Jen Hill. 2016. Painted in gouache and Adobe Photoshop.

Brief summary: This story is based on Helen Stevens’s life of becoming a 1917 Woman’s Land Army of America member and becoming a a farmerette. With many men away to fight in WWI, there was a shortage of farmers. There was a lot of doubt that women could do the hard farm work.  Women would go to camps to be trained and then to local farms to work thus feeding the country and allies.

Comments: This is another grit story about not giving up and getting the job done no matter how hard it became. There are photos on the front and back pages reminding us just how farming was in the early twentieth century unlike the agricultural technology we have now.

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