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What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors Hardcover – Jan 3 2012

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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: 24.3 x 1.5 x 25.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #431,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ff09c18) out of 5 stars 129 reviews
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ff19a50) out of 5 stars Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children Jan. 15 2012
By Yana V. Rodgers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa007f4c8) 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
Format: Hardcover
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
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa00773f0) out of 5 stars Book Review Feb. 9 2012
By Joe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fefe2ac) out of 5 stars Unknown heroes March 11 2012
By Phyllis Boros - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fff0180) out of 5 stars Kareem, Your Book's a Slam Dunk Aug. 19 2012
By Spudman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It was one of thousands of recommendations that appear on my Amazon page. Fortunately I clicked on this one to discover one of the most amazing books I've ever read. What Color is My World educates, entertains, and inspires. The authors skillfully weave science facts and inventor biographical facts into a narrative featuring brother/sister twins and the mysterious Mr. Mital, a black handyman.

Mital shares information about not so famous inventors while stressing the importance of persistence and higher education. This is a cleverly designed book with flaps containing information about inventors and their inventions, made even more interesting with a sprinkling of scientific facts.

Some of the inventors featured include:
Dr. Henry Sampson - gamma electric cell
Grantville Woods - induction telegraph
George Crum - POTATO chips
Lewis Latimer - light bulb
James West - 200 patents for Bell Labs
Lonnie Johnson - super soaker

I shared this book with Mrs. Spudman and several teachers; all reacted with greath enthusiasm and wonder.

What Color Is My World gets the highest Spudman recommendation. As icing on the cake, even the ending has a pleasant, surprise twist.