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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 9 to 12.
George Washington Carver was born at the end of the Civil War. This was a turbulent period of American history, and his early life was marked by violence. From being kidnapped from his Missouri home where he was the infant of a slave to surviving whooping cough, George had a rough beginning. Since his mother and sister died in the kidnapping raid, the couple who had owned her paid George's ransom, raised him as their foster child, and gave him their last name. Young George was fascinated by the natural world and desperately wanted to learn. Because he was not white, he could not go to the neighborhood school. When he was about twelve, he left the Carvers' home and began the first of many adventures to seek an education and answers to his many questions. His quest took him from Missouri to Kansas and Iowa; eventually, it took him to Alabama as a teacher at the Tuskegee Institute. George excelled in science and its practical applications, as demonstrated by the many uses he came up with for peanuts. Author/illustrator Cheryl Harness maps the progress of invention around the world, placing Carver's life against the backdrop of a world inspired by innovation. An illustrated timeline runs across the bottom of most spreads, and famous events and inventors of Carver's day are included in the narrative. Detailed illustrations have been painstakingly created in pencil, retraced in ink, and enhanced with paint. With an engaging narrative style and deft handling of a wealth of information, Harness has created a unique biography of both a man and his contemporaries, the visionaries of their day. This title and others in the "Cheryl Harness History" series are perfectfor classroom use as launching points for thematic studies of historical eras, as well as studies of the individuals themselves. Reviewer: Keri Collins Lewis