Picture Book for Black History Month

Today I have an awesome picture book for Black History Month.  In the past I recommended books like Little Rock Girl 1957, which looks at integration in Little Rock, AK and No Crystal Stair which profiles the founder of the  National Memorial African Book Store in Harlem.  The March trilogy  is also a wonderful set of graphic novels that highlight John Lewis and his fight for civil rights. I will continue to encourage you and your children to read these powerful and important books.  However, this year I have a book “dripping” with innovation and fun!  Yup, it’s time to meet Lonnie Johnson and discover his invention that makes him a hero to boys and girls everywhere!

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Title: Whoosh!Whoosh picture book for black history month

Author: Chris Barton

Target: Grades 1-4

What this book is about:

Lonnie Johnson loved to tinker. Growing up he built rockets and computers even when he did have to “borrow” his little sister’s walkie talkie to complete a project. After becoming an engineer and working for NASA, he invented lots of things. But the invention he is best known for is what makes him a hero to every kid on a hot summer day – the Super Soaker! Believe it or not, lots of companies turned him down, but with perseverance and a belief in his idea he was rewarded. Now he has can afford a big workshop where he spends his time solving problems and tackling big ideas.

Why I love this book:

  • I adore that this book was borne out a conversation the author had with some librarians. They had been asked at a seminar to draw a picture of a scientist and almost everyone created an Albert Einstein lookalike. But scientist are much more diverse than that and this book helps kids create new images in their mind of who an inventor can be.
  • I appreciated the fact that the author didn’t sugarcoat the challenges for Lonnie. He was not an overnight success and at one point he had to move out of his family home into a small apartment to make ends meet. But that also makes his success all that more sweet.
  • This is a book about one of the coolest toys ever invented. Enough said!

Who this book is for:

Kids who invent will love this story. It is also great for kids who have a collection of Super Soakers at home.

Final thoughts:

I have included a great article from Mental Floss on the history of the Super Soaker for those who want to know more : The Wet and Wild History of the Super Soaker.

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Whoosh!  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.