When George Washington Carver was just a young child, he had a secret: a garden of his own.
Here, he rolled dirt between his fingers to check if plants needed more rain or sun. He protected roots through harsh winters, so plants could be reborn in the spring. He trimmed flowers, spread soil, studied life cycles. And it was in this very place that George’s love of nature sprouted into something so much more—his future.
Gene Barretta’s moving words and Frank Morrison’s beautiful paintings tell the inspiring life and history of George Washington Carver, from a baby born into slavery to celebrated botanist, scientist, and inventor. His passion and determination are the seeds to this lasting story about triumph over hardship—a tale that begins in a secret garden.
"An expressive picture book... Barretta creates a strong impression of Carver’s delight in nature, drive to learn, and sense of purpose. The oil paintings by Morrison, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor recipient, reinforce those impressions with glorious scenes of the woodland garden and sensitive, dignified portrayals of Carver." (Booklist (starred review))
"The beautiful oil on board illustrations show the wonder of young Carver as he contemplates the petals on a flower or the first green sprouts of spring. Barretta’s prose, combined with Morrison’s art, fully illuminates the depth of Carter’s considerable contributions to the science of agriculture, the farming community, and racial equality… A well-thought-out biography that highlights a different side of Carver and will be a first purchase for school and public library collections." (School Library Journal (starred review))
"The substantial text holds readers on each spread long enough to appreciate not only the subject matter of the painted illustrations, but Morrison's artistic techniques―strong strokes and careful dots, artful combinations of textures and shapes... Memorable art earns this biography a respectable place on the shelf. " (Kirkus Reviews)
"Barretta opens this sensitive biography on a moment of triumph as Carver overcomes the scorn of a roomful of white congressmen in 1921... Through myriad lush garden scenes and impressive portraiture by Morrison, Carver emerges as a generous figure, a “living folk hero,” able to do whatever he set out to and “always ready to serve humanity.”" (Publishers Weekly)