An accessible first look at a celebrated inventor in the black community.
Garrett Morgan has been credited with the invention of the traffic light but is often overlooked in favor of other famous black innovators, such as George Washington Carver and Charles R. Drew. Debut picture-book author DiCicco gives young readers a solid overview of Garrett Morgan’s wide-ranging versatility. The account of his humble beginnings as part of a Kentucky sharecropping family highlights how his circumstances led him to solve problems creatively. When he left for the North, he advanced his education with private tutoring. DiCicco uses affirmative vocabulary like “unstoppable” and “brave” to describe his resilience and determination in life—an attitude that led to his decision to marry a white woman before interracial marriages were federally legal. The bulk of the book is devoted to his invention of a piece of safety apparatus that ensured a supply of fresh air to firefighters before turning to the invention of the traffic light. The racism that he encountered along the way is not soft-pedaled. A detailed timeline and bibliography steer readers to resources that will enable them to further explore his life. Glenn supplies earth-toned paintings that give a sense of the period and evoke mid-20th-century Disney cartoons.
A stirring tribute to black excellence. (Picture book/biography. 7-11)