cover image The Unstoppable Garrett Morgan: Inventor, Entrepreneur, Hero

The Unstoppable Garrett Morgan: Inventor, Entrepreneur, Hero

Joan DiCicco, illus. by Ebony Glenn. Lee & Low, $19.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62014-564-7

DiCicco’s well-researched debut picture book highlights the life of boundary-breaking African-American inventor Garrett Morgan. The son of Kentucky sharecroppers, Morgan heads north at 14, getting work as a handyman, opening a sewing machine repair shop—and, alongside his wife, “manufacturing affordable clothing for Cleveland’s growing black middle class”—inventing a traffic signal, and garnering a patent for the Safety Hood, a helmet that was developed into gas masks before WWI. Focusing primarily on the Safety Hood and a daring rescue that it facilitated, this biography recalls Morgan’s experience with fires as inspiration for the invention. Glenn’s digital illustrations, saturated in chalky sepias and browns, exude a diaphanous, smoky ambiance. An extensive timeline and bibliography wrap up this riveting tale of a man who fought against stacked odds to accomplish what he put his mind to. Ages 7–11. (Oct.)