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What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors [Hardcover]

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Raymond Obstfeld , Ben Boos , A.G. Ford

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Book Description

Jan. 3 2012
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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 44 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (Jan. 3 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763645648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763645649
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 27.9 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #422,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


It's an entertaining and often surprising exploration of lesser-known innovators, past and present.
—Publishers Weekly

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.

About the Author

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the most famous and accomplished basketball players in U.S. history. Since retiring from the sport, he has committed himself to bringing history and social studies to young people and has written seven books, including the New York Times bestseller On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance, co-authored by Raymond Obstfeld. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar lives in California.

Raymond Obstfeld is the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction and is a professor of creative writing. He lives in California.

Ben Boos (1971-2011) is the author-illustrator of Swords: An Artist's Devotion and Fantasy: An Artist's Realm.

A. G. Ford is the illustrator of Goal! by Mina Javaherbin and the New York Times bestseller Barack by Jonah Winter, among other titles. A. G. Ford lives in Texas.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  87 reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children Jan. 15 2012
By Yana V. Rodgers - Published on Amazon.com
Hard-working inventors have faced numerous difficulties in the past, including insufficient financial resources and poor access to information and communication channels as they designed new products, medicines, equipment, and gadgets. Black Americans faced additional obstacles in the form of discrimination and legal restrictions by race as they tried to bring their innovative plans to fruition. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar carefully documents the challenges and accomplishments experienced by a number of relatively unknown black American inventors as they made influential contributions in the past two centuries.

Abdul-Jabbar has done an excellent job writing about the personal backgrounds of these pioneers in science, medicine, and industry. With its clear presentation, fun facts on the side, and a parallel story, young readers will gain a new understanding of the impact that these innovations have had on scientific progress and on our everyday lives. The book offers a good opportunity to introduce readers to the concept of innovation and the idea that new inventions play an important role in improving societal well-being.
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Color Is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors Jan. 30 2012
By Patty Mitzvah - Published on Amazon.com
Not only is this book beautifully written and illustrated, it shines a light on many deserving inventors whose important contributors may have been overlooked by the history books. I hope it will inspire young and old readers to continue to dream, and lead them to many other ideas and innovations!
What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review Feb. 9 2012
By Joe - Published on Amazon.com
This book (What Color is my World, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)will be used as a teaching tool.
I am a teacher for 5th graders and this book will be well read by my students.
It is beautifully illustrated, nicely designed with fold out pages and many fun facts about inventors.
I would recommend this book to everyone- young and old.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unknown heroes March 11 2012
By Phyllis Boros - Published on Amazon.com
This book should be the first of many subsequent books on the subject. I tutor at a mostly Black Boys and Girls Club and was delighted to raise their knowledge of these important people. The format was appropriate for all ages and the club is buying its own copy. This book demonstrates that anyone can achieve anything if s/he is willing to work hard enough. BTW: I am not black.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Treatment of an Interesting Topic Feb. 9 2012
By Steve Marsh - Published on Amazon.com
A fun read! Has enough to interest young readers and to humor and entertain older ones. The references and suggested additional readings provide a wealth of complimentary materials. Well done, sirs!

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