cover image Lewis Latimer: Engineering Wizard (VIP)

Lewis Latimer: Engineering Wizard (VIP)

Denise Lewis Patrick, illus. by Daniel Duncan. HarperCollins, $15.99 (112p) ISBN 978-0-06-288966-9

Howard Latimer—scientist, inventor, poet, artist, and the son of "escaped slaves.” Born free in Massachusetts as the last of four children, Lewis worked odd jobs to help support the family, eventually becoming a draftsman; assisted Alexander Graham Bell with the patent drawings for the telephone; worked at the Edison Company; and fought for Black lives and equality. Patrick’s prose is clear and engaging (“He thought that freedom for black people would mean equal treatment, too”); supplementary asides provide overviews of contextual historical events and figures, including “African American Soldiers in the Civil War” and “Better, Faster, Safer: Other Nineteenth-Century Inventors,” while ample black-and-white comic-style art by Duncan presents an accessible entry point for young readers. This joint series starter (with Dr. Mae Jemison: Brave Rocketeer) offers a comprehensive introduction to a Black pioneer whose work is often overlooked. Ages 8–12.