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Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner

By: Janice N. Harrington

Illustrator: Theodore Taylor III

Charles Henry Turner’s mind itched with questions. Fascinated by animals, bugs, and crustaceans, Turner studied their lives. When books didn’t answer his questions, he researched, experimented, and looked for answers on his own, even when faced with racial prejudice. Author Janice Harrington and artist Theodore Taylor III capture the life of this scientist and educator, highlighting his unstoppable curiosity and his passion for insects and biology.

Author’s note with photographs. Time line. Sources. Selected papers by Charles Henry Turner. Source notes. Full-color digital illustrations.

ISBN: 9781629795584

JLG Release: Apr 2020


Sensitive Areas: Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism
Topics: Charles Henry Turner (1867–1923) , African American scientists , Science experiments , Entomology , Microbiology , Discrimination , Education

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Awards & Honors

NSTA Best STEM Books - 2020
The Nonfiction Detectives Best Nonfiction Books - 2019

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, The Horn Book Magazine, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

A relatively unknown entomologist comes out of oblivion in this engaging picture book biography. Born in 1867, Charles Henry Turner was a groundbreaking African American scientist and teacher. He was raised in a loving household surrounded by books. After attending college, he continued his study of insects. He discovered, for example, what he call A relatively unknown entomologist comes out of oblivion in this engaging picture book biography. Born in 1867, Charles Henry Turner was a groundbreaking African American scientist and teacher. He was raised in a loving household surrounded by books. After attending college, he continued his study of insects. He discovered, for example, what he called “intelligent action,” where a spider would spin a web just right for its particular home. Harrington’s text is inviting, and Turner’s enthusiasm comes through clearly: “Questions that itched like mosquito bites, questions that tickled like spider webs.” The word indefatigable is used throughout. Taylor’s bright, cheerful, expertly rendered cartoon illustrations complement the text. Close-ups depict Turner studying ants or butterflies intensely. While there is some discussion of the prejudice Turner endured, the overall tone is upbeat. Harrington and Taylor have rescued a worthy scientist from obscurity. Recommended for all libraries serving this grade range.

Horn Book

This picture-book biography of renowned African American entomologist Turner (1867–1923) begins with a signature quote: “The study of biology trains the powers of observation.” And it is that very power of observation that led the young Turner to ask questions: “questions that itched like mosquito bites, questions that tickled like spider w This picture-book biography of renowned African American entomologist Turner (1867–1923) begins with a signature quote: “The study of biology trains the powers of observation.” And it is that very power of observation that led the young Turner to ask questions: “questions that itched like mosquito bites, questions that tickled like spider webs, questions you couldn’t just shoo away!” Harrington aptly incorporates the scientific method as she highlights Turner’s lifelong scientific curiosity and his major entomological discoveries. What shines through is his “indefatigable” (a word used several times, and beautifully defined in context) grit as he searches to find out, for example, if bees can identify color and if spiders make intelligent choices when weaving webs. According to Turner, “biology could help people see the connections among all living things”—a belief that gave him hope as he experienced racial prejudice and violence in the early-twentieth-century South. Read this aloud to capture Harrington’s strong voice, with her powerful cadences and well-chosen repetitions. Taylor’s accompanying clean-lined digital illustrations spotlight the scientist at work, from time spent in the lab “peering through microscopes” to his experiments in nature and explor¬ing the outdoors. Appended with an author’s note, a timeline, source notes, and a bibliography.

Book Details

ISBN

9781629795584

First Release

April 2020

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

B

Trim Size

11" x 8 1/2"

Page Count

48

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

N/A

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Calkins Creek

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism

Topics

Charles Henry Turner (1867–1923), African American scientists, Science experiments, Entomology, Microbiology, Discrimination, Education,

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