“George Washington Carver”
Written By Tonya Bolden
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
Copyright Date: 2008
Number of Pages: 41
When I think of biographies, I tend to think about a long chapter books with the dull information and facts. In school growing up, biographies never interested me, and I always thought it was a chore to read them. However, I have stumbled across a very interesting biography on the life of “The Peanut Man” (George Washington Carver/ GWC). This specific biography is appropriate for young readers. It contains very detailed facts about GWC’s life from birth to death. It details his life and education, and his journey to discover new uses for agriculture growth. Not only does this book lay out facts and information surrounding the life of GWC, but also this biography clears up some myths that surround his agricultural discoveries. Take a look at this biography of the amazing life and discoveries of George Washington Carver.
Now, thinking back to my experience with biographies in school, I hardly remember the books having several illustrations or pictures. The lack of pictures or illustrations throughout a dense text full of facts made most biographies hard to finish. However, this particular book has many different pictures throughout the text. All the pictures showcase the information accurately, and some of the pictures or illustrations are actual sketches from GWC. I picked this book because of the pictures that I saw when I flipped through the book at the library. After reading the book, I noticed the citation at the end, and the author accessed most of the pictures from different institutes from Tuskegee and Philadelphia. The pictures add to the book because the pictures are placed strategically to further the text and to smoothly break up the information packed text.
Biographies have many uses in the classroom, and this biography of George Washington Carver can be used in many different ways in today’s classroom. Because of the text level and historical context, this book would be best used in upper elementary classrooms such as fifth or sixth grade. The first activity that I would use to accompany this text would be a science lesson. I would use this text to introduce a science lesson on plants and agriculture. Second, I would showcase GWC’s life pursuit to better use the Earth’s natural resources by incorporating this book into Earth Day lessons. Finally, the most effective integration of this biography into the classroom would be through teaching history. I would include this book during the teaching of the time periods of Reconstruction, Roaring Twenties, and Great Depression as well as Black History Month. Overall, biographies such as this one that are full of pictures as well as information prove to be useful in the classroom because they short enough to keep student’s interested.