In the Garden with Dr. Carver / by Susan Grigsby, Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
Concepts: natural resources, innovation, invention, human resources
Review: Botanist and inventor George Washington Carver achieved professional acclaim with his scholarship in plant pathology and agriculture at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. His strong desire to use hands-on methods in teaching farmers and mentoring children led him to travel across the South in a wagon specially equipped with extension materials and pulled by a mule.
Carver’s novel use of the movable school contributed to improved understanding of how alternative crops such as peanuts and sweet potatoes could improve soil quality and diversify people’s diets. As a highly educated and successful African American scientist, he also served as an important role model for children at a time of rampant discrimination and racial segregation.
This work of historical fiction presents young learners with a snapshot of George Washington Carver’s extension work with children. Although the text and illustrations have a botanical focus, the story can motivate some useful economics-oriented discussions related to natural resources, innovation, and agricultural production. As one of the most famous African American inventors in U.S. history, Carver has left a rich legacy that is clearly presented in this appealing children’s book.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children
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