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.
Grades 3-6. 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.