Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Non-fiction - One Inventor To Celebrate!

  
              Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, everyone shares wonderful non-fiction picture books. We learn much from authors who are sharing about their own special topics.
              One more 'water' book from the beach!





          I continue to appreciate that authors are telling the stories of those whose accomplishments need to be celebrated, and love knowing about them. Lonnie Johnson grew up in a busy household, but was always the one who was figuring out stuff. There wasn't much money so Johnson's father taught his kids how to create their own toys, sometimes much to everyone's worry. Lonnie almost set his house on fire while cooking a batch of rocket fuel in the kitchen. It exploded! He became an engineer and worked for NASA, but his most known invention was a fluke, like others we've learned about. It is the "super-soaker", a most popular summertime toy. 


         In the world of scientists, Lonnie Johnson was not the usual eccentric, wild and gray-haired inventor. What he did have was persistence. During a time of inventing a new kind of cooling for refrigerators, he discovered a way to "push" water out of a tube with great force, and immediately thought "water gun".  Barton shows Johnson's challenges all through his life as an African-American from his youth when he was told he didn't have the talent to be an engineer, to his determination to make this invention available to all after being rejected by company after company. Tate's illustrations leap off the page with Lonnie Johnson's enthusiasm. It's another Barton and Tate accomplishment! I enjoyed the end papers showing some of Johnson's inventions, too.
       You can discover more about Johnson on this page. Lonnie Johnson is still living and inventing today. As the author's note says, he didn't just take the money from the super soaker and retire. He continues to work to solve problems, and to encourage young inventors in their work. 
It's a terrific book to add to the shelf of books about creating and inventing. 



14 comments:

  1. I haven't seen this book yet, but I love, love, love the kid appeal! What kid wouldn't want to know about the inventor of the super-soaker? (and what parent wouldn't be terrified by a child who cooked rocket fuel in the kitchen!) The fact that Johnson is still alive and inventing adds to the appeal and shows kids that all the great inventions have not already been made. Thanks, Linda!

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    1. You're welcome, Jane. As written above, I love that authors are sharing these wonderfully inspiring stories. This man's life is full of inspiration.

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  2. I still haven't gotten my hands on this book either, and super soaker season is upon us!
    I love the endpapers. First time I've seen them. Thanks!

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    1. I really haven't told all the details that are included in this great story, Annette. Hope you find it soon! Thanks!

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  3. What a fantastic story! I loved Super-Soakers as a kid, but I had no idea how they were invented or who the person was behind this kid-favourite, so this is very cool. Oh, and I guess actual kids will find this pretty neat too. ;)

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    1. It is a great story, Jane. I know that this book should definitely be in a group about inventions, especially to inspire those young inventors who love to tinker & take apart things! Thanks!

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  4. I just loved this book! I think amongst many other reasons to share this book, it will reel in some kids who don't want to read nonfiction.

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    1. I agree, they may really enjoy a story about something they love, that super soaker! Thanks, Michele.

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  5. I've been looking forward to this one. I won't have it at school until fall, but will grab it from the library sometime this summer.

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  6. This book looks fabulous, Linda. What a great cover! I bet it would make a great pairing with THE INVENTORS OF LEGO TOYS -- a NF biography for kids written by my friend Erin Hagar.

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    1. Thanks for this new title, too, Laura. There are a number of great "inventor" books out.

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  7. What a neat read! Thanks for sharing, Linda! I missed you and your usual update today! HUG!

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    1. Thanks, Ricki. On vacation, no time to share!

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