Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver

Matt Doeden
Illustrator:  Tad Butler 
For ages 7 to 9
Lerner, 2007   ISBN: 978-0822576051

When George Washington Carver was just a little baby, he and his mother Mary were kidnapped. The family that they belonged to, Susan and Moses Carver, cared for their slaves and went looking for Mary and her baby. They found the baby but Mary was never found. Being kindly people the Carvers decided to raise baby George and his big brother Jim themselves. Because he was frail after his kidnapping ordeal, George was taught how to do housework and how to read. Loving to grow things, George taught himself how to care for flowers and other plants and he created a big garden.

When he was only eleven George got permission from the Carvers to leave their home and to go to the nearby town of Neosho so that he could attend a black school. He wanted to get an education. For the next few years George worked hard learning as much as he could. He had to get jobs as well and he developed an interest in painting. Eventually he graduated from high school and was ready to go to college. Unfortunately the college that had accepted him changed its mind about letting him enter when they saw that he was black. He would have to apply all over again and find a college that would accept him for what he was.

Finally Simpson College in Iowa accepted him. At first he thought he wanted to be an artist but then he changed his focus to botany. Later he transferred to the University of Iowa and in 1894 he graduated. He had done so well that the University offered him a place as a graduate student and George was happy to accept. He taught classes, and earned his masters degree in two years.

Then Booker T. Washington invited George to come to the Tuskegee Institute to teach. George was delighted to accept. At the Institute he not only taught but he did a great deal of research, research which would made George Washington Carver a household name in the years to come.

This “History Maker Bios” title will give young readers an excellent introduction to the life and achievements of George Washington Carver. Well written to suit the younger reader, the author also includes a timeline, a list of recommended websites, and more.