Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, October 16, 2023

Rooting for Plants

Rooting for Plants: The Unstoppable Charles S. Parker, Black Botanist and Collector
by Janice N. Harrington
illustrated by Theodore Taylor III
Calkins Creek, 2023
Grades 2-6

Rooting for Plants introduces young readers to Charles S. Parker, black botanist who spent his life studying plants and sharing his love of botany with others. Using a narrative writing style, Harrington describes Parker's early life growing up in Spokane, Washington and his harrowing experience serving in World War I in this picture book biography.

The book captures Parker's passion for identifying, collecting, and growing herbs and plants and his lifelong quest to learn and teach others about botany. Parker shared his knowledge of plants with black students as a professor at Howard University in the 1930s and 40s. 

Bold digital artwork depicts Parker in the field collecting specimens. Taylor captures the textures and colors of nature in illustrations of plants, herbs and fungi, at times using frames to show snapshots of the specimens.

Readers who are inspired to learn more about Parker or the field of botany should be sure to read the extensive back matter including a glossary of science terms, brief bios of other black botanists, a timeline, and bibliography of selected sources.

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