Even though genius is all around us, it can still be a challenging concept to define. Thankfully, author Deborah Kespert seems to have found a delightful way to tell the story of genius. Her latest hardcover picture book, Genius!: The Most Astonishing Inventions of all time, offers a step-by-step account of the genius and perseverance it took to create the inventions that launched our planet toward the greatness it enjoys today.
The book is written for ages 9 to 11 (grades 4 to 6), but history and innovation lovers of all ages are sure to enjoy this one. It includes 96 pages of the most inspiring inventions out there. Tales of who invented the computer, the telescope, and even the Internet, keep avid readers turning those fact-filled pages all the way to the end.
Readers re-learn the details of well-known inventions like the telephone, the printing press and the light bulb. But they are also introduced to lesser-known facts behind amazing inventions like wireless communications (invented in 1901), the Internet (invented in 1991), and the Saturn V and V-2 rockets (1958-1969).
There is delightful back matter that introduces curious facts like teen inventions (e.g., 16-year-old George Nissan invented the trampoline in 1930); “mistake” inventions (e.g., the Kellogg brothers invented cornflakes in 1894 after some wheat they were baking went stale); and “women” inventions (the circular saw was invented by Tabitha Babbit in 1813!).
There are fascinating sketches and prototype drawings of everything from flying machines to the constellations. There’s also a picture of a dare-devil Berta Benz, perched proudly on the first three-wheeled motor vehicle designed by her husband, Karl Benz. As you may know, the Benz’s went on to found the Mercedes Benz manufacturing company. But if you didn’t know…well, now you do!
For a healthy dose of the genius of history and the history of genius, this is the book.
Best wishes and happy inventing,