BUZZING WITH QUESTIONS by Janice N. Harrington


The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner
Age Range: 7 - 10
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A thorough biography of early African American scientist Charles Henry Turner.

From a young age, “questions hopped through…Turner’s mind like grasshoppers.” His teacher encouraged him to “go and find out,” and that is what he spent his life doing. He attended college when most colleges didn’t accept African Americans, and he kept asking questions as he studied biology. The “indefatigable scientist” studied spiders: Two spreads explain how he learned that “each spider wove a web just right for its home.” He studied crustaceans and ants, bees and moths. His significant findings are explained both in the illustrations and in the lucid paragraphs of text that describe the experiments and his conclusions. The importance of his findings in the field is made clear, and the curiosity and hard work that led to them are the focus. One spread mentions the racial prejudice he lived through and his service to the community. His work is cast in the light of uplifting humanity: “He wrote that biology could help people see the connections among all living things.” The digital illustrations depict people, creatures, and experiments in thick black lines and swaths of color that help readers understand the science being discussed. This extensively researched, jam-packed text intrigues and inspires with Turner’s example of discovery and hard-won, meaningful contributions to knowledge about life.

A well-written tribute to a deserving champion of science. (author’s note, timeline, sources, notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-62979-558-4
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2019


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