George Washington Carver for Kids by Peggy Thomas: a book review


What rock have I been living under, that I had no idea George Washington Carver, the scientist whose name is forever linked in my mind with peanuts, was also an accomplished painter? That he loved music and paid for piano and voice lessons with his paintings? Talk about putting the "A" in STEAM! He, in fact, had so many interests that one of his friends commented: "Whoever heard of any one person doing half so many things?" 

Who, indeed!



And that isn't all. I didn't know he built his own sod house on the frontier. I didn't know much about his many, many experiences of racism. I didn't know that he pulled himself up from nothing to put himself through college with unbelievable drive and sheer will, living in horrible, subhuman conditions, scrubbing clothes to pay his tuition. And despite all his hardships, he still comes across as just the most pleasant, inspiring, hardworking, and mindblowingly talented person you could ever meet, in the 19th century or any other century for that matter.

I think I have a new hero!

Just like the man himself, Peggy Thomas's book George Washington Carver for Kids: His Life and Discoveries, With 21 Activities manages to be many things all at once. It's a top-notch biography, telling the story of his life in a very natural and readable narrative format with lots of visuals and robust source documents. But the book is also an activity book, full of creations and experiments that kids can try to take Carver's story to a more concrete, physical level. They could make a model of a sod house. They could make a herbarium. They could cook various recipes. They could make a spore print. So many great STEAM activities to choose from to inspire them to be creators, engineers, scientists and artists just like Carver!

So thank you, Peggy Thomas, for giving children this fun and engaging guide to a great man's life!

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