The 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.
You Are My Friend by Aimee Reid; illustrated by Matt Phelan. 2019. Pencil and watercolor. Published by Abrams Books.
Brief summary: Fred Rogers was sick as a young child and unable to make friends, so he created puppets instead to share his feelings with and talk to about life. He learned to express his emotions on the piano too. His mother told him to look for people who are helping whenever they left the house to help calm her son. He enjoyed visiting his grandfather in the country. Grandpa McFeely told his grandson that he loved him just the way he was. This stayed with Fred as he went to college majoring in music. He later worked for the country’s first public television station, WQED. Years later, he produced Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood developing his own scripts, music and puppet voices.
Comments: This is a brief biography of Mr. Rogers’ life. It reveals how he came up with some of his ideas for the show such as his neighborhood of puppets and his philosophy on life.
This book’s back pages have a section about Mr. Rogers’ life.
I would share this book to emphasize kindness, community helpers, and feelings.
Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton; illustrated by Don Tate. Illustrations created digitally. 2016.
Brief Summary: Lonnie Johnson was one of six children living in Mobile, Alabama. He was interested in inventing as a child leaving home to go to Tuskegee Institute to become an engineer. He invented the super-soaker realizing that an air pump would make the water go further. He went to a toy company and his water gun was produced making water fighting more fun than ever.
Comments: This is an invention that students can relate to and will want to know who and how it was created. Nonfiction narrative. It could go in biographies or inventions section of the library. I plan to share this during the first two weeks of school when students are still water fighting to cool off during the hot, August heat.