National Geographic Reader: George Washington Carver, by Kitson Jazynka is one of a series of leveled readers that brings historical figures to life.
Although America has heard many stories about George Washington Carver, this book is different in that it brings some of the more vague aspects of Carver’s life to the forefront. For example, young readers ages 4 to 6 learn that Carver lived in a rickety cabin that did not look to be much larger than an above-the-ground planting container for a garden bed. They learn that he and his mother were kidnapped from their owner, and that he was returned and his mother was not. They also learned that his owners, Moses and Susan Carver, decided to raise him even after slavery was over.
Readers learn Carver’s passions, like the fact that he collected rocks and loved gardening. In the meantime, they learn that Americans of Carver’s day did not typically shop for their food in stores, but did their own farming to raise the food they would eat. The book goes on to tell young readers how Carver helped people with sick plants, made paint from berries and made paint brushes out of twigs, and advised three US presidents about the art of farming.
This is a vibrant little book designed especially for the emerging independent reader. It includes amazing photographs, a detailed time line, word pronunciation, and even a quiz for the quick-minded. Highly recommended for lower-elementary classrooms that discuss US history, social justice and careers.
Best wishes and happy inventing,