July 12, 1854 – March 14, 1932
George Eastman, photographer, inventor
Eastman had a new hobby: photography. The year was 1877, and photography
was not as easy as you might think. It cost a lot and the equipment was
bulky, but George was about to change all that. What he lacked in
formal education, George more than made up for in ingenuity: he invented
dry plates, film, and the Brownie camera! The rest is history.
For anyone who has ever taken a picture or posed for one, It’s a Snap! George Eastman’s First Photograph,
with its playful, informative text and lively illustrations, is a
splendid introduction to biography, to photography, and to the amazing
man who had so much to do with putting picture-taking within reach of us
Cromwell Dixon, inventor
July 9, 1892 – 10-2-1911
CROMWELL DIXON’S SKY-CYCLE (Putnam, 2009) by John Abbott Nez
From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5–In 1907, a 14-year-old boy named Cromwell Dixon took to
the sky in a flying bicycle that he designed and built with the help of
his mother. Nez re-creates his amazing feat in this lively account
filled with informative and fascinating images. Despite disappointment
(an early prototype caught fire) and mistakes (a too-heavy vehicle), the
teen persevered. He eventually made a glorious showing in his flying
bicycle, soaring above the highest buildings in his hometown of
Columbus, OH. Later that year, Dixon entered his Sky-Cycle in the St.
Louis Airship Carnival, taking home a prize. The time period is depicted
with often-amusing illustrations that exude an old-fashioned flair
while also inviting inspection. A one-page biography tells of Dixon’s
lifelong endeavors. Young inventors as well as aviation aficionados will
be intrigued, but this fictionalized account is also a great example of
the importance of determination, derring-do, and imagination.–Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
Bob Switzer, inventor
May 19, 1914-Aug. 20, 1997
The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tony Persiani (Charlesbridge, 2008)
A Sibert Informational Honor book, this bio about the brothers who invented eye-popping colors shines light on an innovative and important addition to our world.
Day-Glo worms? View “A Primer on Marine Flatworms for K-12 Students” at the University of New Hampshire site and you’ll be a believer.
John Batterson Stetson, inventor, hatmaker
May 5, 1830-Feb. 18, 1906
Boss of the Plains: The Hat That Won the West by Laurie Carlos, illustrated by Holly Meade (DK Publishing, 1998)
The true story of how the wide-brimmed cowboy hat was invented by John Batterson Stetson. Stetson fulfilled his dream by leaving his mark, a hat to symbolize the West.
Leonardo da Vinci, artist, inventor
Apr. 15 1452 – May 2, 1519
Leonardo’s Horse by Jean Fritz, illustrated by Hudson Talbott (Putnam Juvenille, 2001).
Possibly one of Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest regrets was not completing a bronze horse statue for the duke of Milan’s father. This book tells the story of how that original vision from one of the greatest renaissance artists was finally completed by another sculptor over five hundred years later. An extraordinary tribute to Leonardo da Vinci and his life’s work.