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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Challenge for Writers - Inspired by The Inventor's Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford

The Inventor's Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford

 Suzanne Slade and illustrator Jennifer Black Reinhardt created a book that emerged in September 2015 -- The Inventor's Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford. (Charlesbridge, 2015).  Here's some interesting background about the book -
And a YouTube booktrailer at

Now the challenge -- we need to think about inclusion of diverse subjects.  This book fits nicely into an inventor's focus but so often the only inventors included are those that came as European white men.  In response to this book  share a collaborative read about inventors that feature an inventor that is not white or not male.

For example do you know of Granville T. Woods (if there is not a book about him -- are there alternative ways to share information about him?)  Do you know who invented the potato chip? Or how about Elijah McCoy, Benjamin Banneker, Garrett Morgan, and Chester Greenwood (earmuffs), Earl Dickson (band-aids®), Clarence Crane (life savers®), William Russell Frisbie (guess what he invented?), Igor Sikorsky (helicopter), Catherine Greene (ideas provided Eli Whitney with refinements making his cotton gin a success), Margaret Knight (safety mechanism on loom & the paper bag- and 26 patents), Sarah Breedlove Walker (hair products), Bette Graham (white-out), Ann Moore (SNUGLI - a baby carrier, and later a carrier for oxygen tanks), Stephanie Kwolek (strong fiber - Kevlar), Gertrude B. Elion (drugs for leukemia and popular organ rejection drugs), Mary Anderson (windshield wipers), Josephine Cochrane (dishwasher), Marion Donovan (disposable diaper), Melitta Benz (automatic drip coffee maker), & George Washington Carver (over 300 different products, many using peanuts [but not peanut butter]). What other inventors are out there?
Books about these non-white or non-male inventors are often difficult to find.  How can information be shared -- or can you find books/articles about any of these inventors?
Share your findings in the comments section below... .


  1. I rather like What Color is My World, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I couldn't remember the name of it of the top of my head, but it came up pretty easily in google searching. So not so much "hard to find' as "thin on the ground."

  2. Charlotte -- thank you for drawing this book to our attention:
    Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem. What Color is My World? Illustrated by Ben Boos and A.G. Ford. Candlewick Press, 2012. ISBN 10 / 13: 0763645648 / 9780763645649
    Abdul-Jabbar mentions inventors of refrigerated trucks, synthesized cortisone, ice-cream scoop, and dozens of other inventions or improvements to create a safer, better, and brighter world -- all from little-known African-American inventors. Thanks for the resource. ~ Sharron