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.

Story Behind the Name Series

Story Behind the Name Series consists of four biographies(as of July 2016) that are written and illustrated in an interesting and fun way that makes the reader want to know more about the individual. Students will enjoy reading these narrative nonfiction books for reports as well as reading for fun.  The illustrations are large and colorful. The books have a glossary, read more, internet site referrals, and critical thinking using the common core sections. No index or table of contents. I bought all four for my elementary school library to be used with 4th and 5th grade biography reports. All four are also available in library binding.

George Ferris’s Grand Idea: The Ferris Wheel by Jenna Glatzer; illustrated by Stephanie Dominquez


John Deere’s Powerful Idea: The Perfect Plow by Terry Collins; illustrated by Carl Pearce


Gustave Eiffel’s Spectacular Idea: The Eiffel Tower by Sharon Katz Cooper; illustrated by Janna Bock


Milton Hershey’s Sweet Idea: A Chocolate Kingdom by Sharon Katz Cooper; illustrated by Alvaro Iglesias Sanchez