In the Garden with Dr. Carver (2010) by Susan Grigsby, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell.
I’m sure you’ve heard of George Washington Carver before, the American peanut genius. Libraries definitely love to display books about him for Black History Month. I’m guessing that if you’re like me, reading this book will give you even more appreciation for this inspiring man.
When Dr. Carver’s Jesup Agricultural Wagon comes to Sally’s town, she learns all about how to create healthy gardens— using compost to build up the soil, recognizing weeds that take nutrients away from crops, and encouraging helpful insects that eat pests.
“That spider is helping your garden,” explained Dr. Carver, “by eating up the creatures that want to eat your plants. Before you change or destroy something, you need to understand why it exists and its relationship with the rest of nature. The plants, the soil, and the animals that visit are all connected, just like a web.”
The book only hints at all of Dr. Carver’s scientific experiments which are as impressive as his mission to bring better agricultural practices to African American rural farmers in Alabama.
He was even teaching people how to turn simple foods like peanuts and sweet potatoes into luxuries like coffee, butter, and sugar. Hundreds of new products poured out of his laboratory, all made from plants that we could grow.
The illustrations by Nicole Tadgell are warm and inviting. Best of all, Tadgell captures Dr. Carver’s awesome mustache and boutonniere just right.
(Cover image Source) (Photo source)