Sunday, July 31, 2022

~ MMGM THE SECRET GARDEN OF GEO WASH CARVER ~

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~  MARVELOUS MIDDLE-GRADE
MONDAY PICTURE BOOK
BIOGRAPHY ~
--  'THE SECRET GARDEN OF
GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER'  --
WRITTEN BY:  GENE BARRETTA
ILLUSTRATED BY:  FRANK MORRISON
~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight,
Author Bio, and My Review~
  
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ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:

The story of George Washington Carver and his childhood secret garden is brought to life in this picture book biography.
 
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.
 
 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}:

Gene Barretta is the author and illustrator of Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin and Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci. He is also author and illustrator of Dear Deer, which was a Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts and listed on the Parenting Magazine Mom-Tested Books of the Year List. He holds a B.F.A. in Film Studies from New York University, and has worked for many years in film and television production. He lives in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania with his wife and son.
 
 
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MY REVIEW:
This is Part 2 of my George Washington Carver features. If you missed last week's post on a Rookie Reader bibliography of this inspiring American, you may find it at:

This beautiful picture book biography of Mr. Carver caught my eye on the library shelf because of its evocative cover artwork which made me want to read the book the instant I glanced at it!

The beginning of the book reviews the information about Mr. Carver's early life as a member of an enslaved family of three who were owned by Mr. and Mrs. Carver in Diamond Grove, Missouri. When he was an infant, he and his mother were kidnapped in 1864 and taken to Arkansas. George was rescued by a family friend, but his mother was never seen again.

Skip forward to 1874 . . . Readers are introduced to a garden the boy kept hidden on the Carver's farm. He liked to grow flowers, but the Carvers told him not to let his love of flowers take him away from his real chores. 

George was a sickly child, so he spent more time collecting rocks and filling the house with interesting plants. Susan Carver taught him to be helpful by teaching him creative ways of making use of the little that they had to make sewing needles from turkey feathers, dyes from nuts and berries, and medicine from plants and leaves. 

His dream was to go to school to learn as much as he could about stones, flowers, insects, birds, and beasts. However, the schools were segregated and he was not permitted to attend schools for White children. 

This determined child decided to study nature by creating his own 'classroom' in the woods on the Carver's farm. He wanted to grow flowers. He made a decision to grow his flowers in a secret garden. He called God 'the Great Creator', and he believed his garden was a gift from God. He experimented with seeds and a variety of growing techniques. 

He used berries to make paints along with twigs and grasses to make paintbrushes. Then he painted the life cycles of the flowers in his garden. He discovered how to protect the roots of his plants during the harsh Missouri winters so that the plants would return in the spring.

The secret got out about George's ability to heal sick plants, so part of his garden was used as a plant hospital. Neighbors called George the 'Plant Doctor.' With great relief, he realized he no longer needed to keep his garden a secret.

At the age of twelve, he left home on his own to become educated and to give back to 'his' people as he had learned from an early mentor. In 1896 he graduated from Iowa Agricultural College as the first Black man to study at, graduate from, and teach there.

Booker T. Washington hired George to teach agriculture at the Tuskegee Institute. Carver built the institute's first farming laboratory. Along with all of his experiments with peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes, he taught the local farmers how to improve their yield by growing food crops over cotton.

Mr. Carver created a traveling schoolhouse to visit poor farmers. The Jessup Agricultural Wagon offered "everything from tool demonstrations to medical care to pamphlets on how to improve farms and live healthier." 

The book ends with this powerful quote from George Washington Carver, 

"Regard Nature.
Revere Nature.
Respect Nature."

Back Matter includes a detailed timeline beginning with his birth and ending with the entry that in 1945 the US Congress designated the anniversary of his death--January 5, 1943--as George Washington Carver Recognition Day; a Bibliography; and a Further Reading list.

Highly-recommended for children and adults alike!

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Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.
 
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4 comments:

  1. Beautiful story! Thanks for sharing today! I love nature!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another great recommend. I've passed your review onto several teachers who might use the books in their classrooms. Thanks for featuring it on MMGM.

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  3. This sounds and looks like a beautiful book. It's a great story for kids to read and emulate. Thanks for your review.

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  4. It's a fascinating story, and lovely to see how his great love of plants and flowers as a boy became his career as a man. Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete

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