At a time when everything is a quickie and a sound byte (bite?), George Washington Carver is a book designed to be studied. There is depth here. What emerges from his story is a man who kept going no matter what. He learned what he needed to learn to move his life along to the next step, acquiring skills along the way that opened doors for him to all societies at a time when African Americans were looked upon as less than human. When he first started college in art school, he was immediately labeled "other" by the students because of his race and his age (he was slightly older). He supported himself by doing other people's laundry. As Thomas tells it:
"When students brought their laundry to Carver's home, he'd unselfconsciously offer them a crate to sit on, and they would stay and chat. One day he came home to find his crates gone. He walked in on a room full of new furniture. All of his friends had taken up a collection and purchased him a table, chairs, and a bed. It must have been difficult for Carver to accept such an extravagant gift. He prided himself on being self-sufficient and working for all that he had. He never took handouts. But the boys must have felt that his friendship was payment enought. Years later Carver wrote, 'They made me believe I was a real human being.'"
Real learning takes work, and practice, and applying oneself. Effort and discipline. There are no short cuts. Peggy Thomas' George Washington Carver for Kids introduces us to an exemplar extraordinaire of such virtues. She also offers today's students many activities to do as George did, in gentle and fun ways, gaining an appreciation that such acomplishments for George Washing Carver were necessary to his own growth and survival. Sudents who immerse themselves in this book, will know what it feels like to walk in Carver's shoes. It's an opportunity that's worth the effort.