Cover image for What Color Is My World?
Title:
What Color Is My World?

The Lost History of African-American Inventors
Author:
Jabbar, Kareem Abdul

Ford, A. G.

Boos, Ben
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography
Juvenile Nonfiction
Sociology
Technology
Description:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball legend and the NBA's alltime leading scorer, champions a lineupof little-known African-American inventors in this lively, kid-friendly book.Did you know that James West invented the microphone in your cell phone? That Fred Jones invented the refrigerated truck that makes supermarkets possible? Or that Dr. Percy Julian synthesized cortisone from soy, easing untold people's pain? These are just some of the black inventors and innovators scoring big points in this dynamic look at several unsung heroes who shared a desire to improve people's lives. Offering profiles with fast facts on flaps and framed by a funny contemporary story featuring two feisty twins, here is a nod to the minds behind the gamma electric cell and the ice-cream scoop, improvements to traffic lights, open-heart surgery, and more — inventors whose ingenuity and perseverance against great odds made our world safer, better, and brighter.Back matter includes an authors' note and sources.
Publisher:
Candlewick Press

Candlewick
Date:
2012/03/13
Digital Format:
Adobe EPUB

HTML

Kindle
Language:
English

Summary

Summary

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball legend and the NBA's alltime leading scorer, champions a lineup
of little-known African-American inventors in this lively, kid-friendly book.

Did you know that James West invented the microphone in your cell phone? That Fred Jones invented the refrigerated truck that makes supermarkets possible? Or that Dr. Percy Julian synthesized cortisone from soy, easing untold people's pain? These are just some of the black inventors and innovators scoring big points in this dynamic look at several unsung heroes who shared a desire to improve people's lives. Offering profiles with fast facts on flaps and framed by a funny contemporary story featuring two feisty twins, here is a nod to the minds behind the gamma electric cell and the ice-cream scoop, improvements to traffic lights, open-heart surgery, and more - inventors whose ingenuity and perseverance against great odds made our world safer, better, and brighter.
Back matter includes an authors' note and sources.


Author Notes

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the most famous and accomplished basketball players in U.S. history. Since retiring from the sport, he has committed himself to bringing history and social studies to young people and has written seven books, including the New York Times bestseller On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance, co-authored by Raymond Obstfeld. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar lives in California.

Raymond Obstfeld is the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction and is a professor of creative writing. He lives in California.

Ben Boos (1971-2011) is the author-illustrator of Swords: An Artist's Devotion and Fantasy: An Artist's Realm. He lives California.

A. G. Ford is the illustrator of Goal! by Mina Javaherbin and the New York Times bestseller Barack by Jonah Winter, among other titles. A. G. Ford lives in Texas.


Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-A fictional story lies at the heart of this unusually formatted collective biography. Twins Herbie and Ella and their parents have just moved into a run-down older home; while they work to fix it up, Mr. R. E. Mital, an eccentric handyman hired by their parents, recounts the contributions of African American scientists and inventors. As the figures are introduced, foldouts on the sides of the pages contain Ella's notes (full of humor, as well as facts) about each one. More detailed profiles of other inventors fill the spreads, and some are introduced in graphic-novel-style pages. Instead of famous inventors such as George Washington Carver and Benjamin Banneker, readers are introduced to lesser-known individuals, including Alfred L. Cralle (inventor of the ice-cream scoop), Dr. Henry T. Sampson (gamma electric cell), and nuclear engineer Lonnie Johnson (Super Soaker). Information about the subjects' home, lives, and avocations is a welcome addition. The lack of an index and table of contents limits the book's usefulness for research; however, the large trim size, numerous illustrations, and unusual format (not to mention the celebrity author) will certainly attract browsers. And a surprise discovery about Mr. Mital's identity at the end will leave readers with something to ponder.-Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Making use of an unusual format, former NBA star Abdul-Jabbar and his On the Shoulders of Giants coauthor Obstfeld offer an upbeat history lesson set within a fictional narrative framework. Siblings the Shoulders of Giants coauthor Obstfeld offer an upbeat history lesson set within a fictional narrative framework. Siblings Ella and Herbie, whose story unfolds in typeset chapter booklike pages surrounded by warmly lit paintings of their adventures, are less than enthusiastic about their fixer-upper of a new house. But as eccentric handyman Mr. Mital unveils the house's potential, he also teaches them about contributions made by African-American inventors ("There's more to our history than slavery, jazz, sports, and civil rights marches," he says). Flaps show lifelike portraits of individuals like Dr. Mark Dean, a v-p at IBM; Dr. Charles Drew, who developed the concept of blood banks; and nuclear engineer Lonnie Johnson, inventor of the Super Soaker squirt gun. Ella's off-the-cuff notes appear inside the flaps, while several spreads provide detailed profiles of other inventors and graphic novel-style passages. The banter between the siblings and, in particular, Ella's snarky zingers keep things from feeling didactic-it's an entertaining and often surprising exploration of lesser-known innovators, past and present. Ages 8-12. Agent: Iconomy. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Under the superficial (and slightly lame) guise of entertaining two children, a fictional narrator recounts the often unrecognized contributions of black inventors and scientists. Inventions such as the gamma electric cell, induction telegraph, illusion transmitter, and even the ice-cream scoop are briefly highlighted. Foldouts and double-page spreads give additional information on inventions and their creators. Illustrations enhance the narrative. Reading list, websites. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

In his first foray into writing for children, basketball superstar Abdul-Jabbar teams with Obstfeld to introduce 16 mostly lesser-known African American inventors through a fictional story told by young twins, who learn that many items in a typical house and used by a majority of Americans were invented or developed by African Americans. These include the lightbulb, the ice cream scooper, the microphones in cell phones, and even fun stuff like the Super Soaker. Most of the inventors receive a spread complete with a flap with some fast facts that opens to a more in-depth paragraph, while others receive a larger narrative in cartoon form, followed by a two-page biography. Told in the voices of the fictional characters, the tone is informal and chatty. This, combined with the large coffee-table-style format, and the lack of an index, makes the book more for browsing than for research. A list of additional texts, videos, and websites is provided.--Enos, Randall Copyright 2010 Booklist