Consider the peanut. No one had really done this until George Washington Carver transformed the lowly legume into the American South’s largest crop. Carver was born into slavery in Missouri the year before the end of the Civil War. His fascination with nature began with the flowers he cultivated in his secret garden hidden in the woods near his home. By age 12, Carver had left his adoptive parents and ventured out on his own, eventually earning a Master’s degree in agriculture in Iowa and later teaching agriculture at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
Although this book was written for ages 4-8, I learned a lot from it. What shines out most clearly from its vibrantly illustrated pages is George Washington Carver’s brilliance, his resilience in adversity, and most of all, his compassion for humanity. That deep love for people fueled his desire to improve their lives, whether or not they appreciated him. As the Christmas season approaches, isn’t this a lesson for us all?
The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver
by Gene Barretta, illustrated by Frank Morrison
New Arrivals, 2nd Floor, Curr Coll E Bar