The Definitive Guide to

The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

Written by Gene Barretta & illustrated by Frank Morrison
4.88 / 7.0
- Bookroo Rating
Goodreads Rating - 4.4 / 5.0
List Price
Target Age
Book Type
Add to list

What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

“A biography of scientist and inventor George Washington Carver that is too divided between his accomplishments and his interests.”

Barretta uses the novel—for a picture book—approach of a flashback to share this important history of American inventor and scientist George Washington Carver. Initially placing Carver in a meeting with members of the United States Congress, where Carver is first disparaged before he enchants the representatives for over an hour with his knowledge of peanuts, Barretta flashes back to Carver’s childhood and highlights his trying but determined path to his position as a preeminent American inventor and scientist, bookending the history with Carver’s careful attention to his own secret flower gardens. Though there are numerous praiseworthy moments throughout—like Barretta’s detailing Carver’s unmatched influence through his traveling Jesup Agricultural Wagon, by which he visited thousands of farmers and shared helpful advice for maximizing crops and caring for livestock—the story fails to share either sufficient details about Carver’s ingenious work with peanuts or his lifelong love of flowers. It does succeed, however, in conveying the remarkable character of Carver, who “remained a humble man, always ready to serve humanity,” even after becoming a man of fame and honor. Morrison’s oil illustrations are full, detailed, and beautiful, fitting of Carver’s creed, which concludes the story: “Regard Nature. Rever Nature. Respect Nature.” For readers whose interest is piqued to learn more about Carver, Barretta includes a detailed timeline of Carver’s life, a bibliography, and suggestions for additional reading.

What's This Book About

Publisher Summary

The inspirational story of George Washington Carver and his childhood secret garden is brought to life in this picture book biography by the author-illustrator team behind Muhammad Ali: A Champion Is Born.

When George Washington Carver was just a young child, he had a secret: a garden of his own.

Here, he rolled dirt between his fingers to check if plants needed more rain or sun. He protected roots through harsh winters, so plants could be reborn in the spring. He trimmed flowers, spread soil, studied life cycles. And it was in this very place that George’s love of nature sprouted into something so much more—his future.

Gene Barretta’s moving words and Frank Morrison’s beautiful paintings tell the inspiring life and history of George Washington Carver, from a baby born into slavery to celebrated botanist, scientist, and inventor. His passion and determination are the seeds to this lasting story about triumph over hardship—a tale that begins in a secret garden.

What Kind of Book is The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

Quotes from This Book

  • “Susan taught him how to be creative with the little they had. Nothing was wasted.”
  • “Regard Nature. Revere Nature. Respect Nature.”

What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • Carver overcame many challenges and setbacks to pursue his goals and interests. Through his work as a scientist and inventor, he made many positive contributions and helped many people. What goals do you have? What challenges do you face to achieve them, and what can you learn from Carver’s example?

  • Carver is very generous with the knowledge and understanding he gains about plants and animals. He taught and shared what he knew with thousands of people and helped them. What do you know and understand that you can share with someone else to help them?

Trusted Reviews & Ratings

The Goodfather
Favorite pastime? Reading with my kids. Just finished Nana Cracks the Case!
5.5 / 7.0
B is for Bookworm
Book-loving mommy-to-be! Recently enjoyed The Hobbit, Becoming, and The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel.
4.25 / 7.0

Book Lists That Include The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

Book Topics › Black history
Children's Books About Black History
Book Topics › biography and autobiography
Children's Books About Biography And Autobiography
Book Topics › agriculture
Children's Books About Agriculture
Book Topics › historical figures
Important Children's Books About Historical Figures
Kids Book Club
Monthly. Curated. Delivered.
Get Started
As low as $16.95 / mo

Who Wrote The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

Gene Barretta

Gene Barretta is an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books. Among his honors are the Carolyn W. Field Award and the Bank Street Cook Prize Honor. His books include Lincoln and Kennedy: A Pair to Compare, Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin, and Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones. Gene has contributed illustration and animation to Sesame Street and Between the Lions. He has also designed characters for the Jim Henson Company. He lives in Bryn Mawr, PA. You can visit him online at

View Author

Who Illustrated The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

Frank Morrison

Frank Morrison is the award-winning illustrator of many books for young readers, including Jazzy Miz Mozetta by Brenda C. Roberts, winner of the Coretta Scott King–John Steptoe Award for New Talent. He also illustrated Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown and Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson, both Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books. Before becoming a children’s book illustrator and fine artist, Morrison toured the globe as a hip-hop dancer. He lives in Georgia with his family. You can visit him online at

View Illustrator

What Has Gene Barretta Said About This Book

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Gene know that you want more details about The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver! Try tweeting Gene on twitter (@GeneBarretta) or messaging Gene on instagram (@gene_barretta).

What Has Frank Morrison Said About This Book

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Frank know that you want more details about The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver! Try messaging Frank on instagram (@frankmorrison).

Gene Barretta's Book Dedication

For Nanie & Grandad, and Grandmom & Grandpop. Strong roots in my garden. A special thank-you to Curtis Gregory, Ben Goldberg, and Ben Barretta.

Frank Morrison's Book Dedication

To the genius in my house, my son, Nasir

More Books From These Creatives

Books You Might Enjoy If You Liked The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

Book Details

Publication Date:
January 14, 2020
Illustration Details:
The artist used oil on illustration board to create the illustrations for this book.

Contribute to this page

Core Score - 62%
More than halfway there—keep going!
Depth Score - 28%
Just the barebones.
Improve this page
Are you the author or illustrator? Claim this page.