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Great Black Heroes: Five Brilliant Scientists

This biographical book in the "Hello Reader!" Science Series by Lynda Jones is published by Scholastic, Inc. and is written for kids ages 4 to 7. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Plot Summary

The lives of five black heroes are explored. Susan Smith McKinney-Steward became one of the first black women doctors in the United States. George Washington Carver became an agriculture scientist and taught college courses; he changed the way farmers in the South planted crops. Ernest Everett Just was a pioneering marine biologist. Percy Lavon Julian excelled as a chemist, and Shirley Ann Jackson was the first black woman to receive a doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She practiced theoretical physics and eventually became the chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Christian Beliefs


Authority Roles

George Washington Carver’s mother tried to protect him from slave raiders. Moses Carver, a slave owner, and his wife raised George and his brother. Ernest Everett Just’s mother helped him apply for a scholarship to Kimball Academy. Percy Lavon Julian’s father inspired him to always do the very best and achieve excellence. Beatrice and George Jackson knew their child was special and encouraged Shirley Ann Jackson’s pursuits.

Other Belief Systems


Profanity/Graphic Violence






Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • Do you think God can use you? How?
  • What will you have to do to achieve your goal?
  • Are there ways I can help you?

Note: Recommended by the National Science Teacher Association

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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