Entomologist and teacher Charles Henry Turner passed away 97 years ago today on February 14, 1923, so it seems appropriate to highlight the picture book biography Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III.
Driven by a fascination with living things, Charles Henry Turner defied the odds and went to college. He kept asking questions and working hard. In 1907 he earned his PhD in Zoology from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude. After graduating, Turner worked at several different teaching positions while continuing to research and publish. He made many lasting contributions to the field of insect behavior, as well as being known for helping others.
Author Janice Harrington does a great job of weaving repeating threads through the text, like the fact that Turner loved books, “never stopped asking questions” and that he was “indefatigable.” Those are wonderful take away messages.
Turner’s message about studying biology to help people see connections between all living things is particularly poignant.
“Biology taught us to think less about ourselves and more about others.”
As for STEM, this book is important because it reveals the inner working of how Turner set up experiments to answer questions that he had. For example, he trained honey bees to come to red platforms and when he offered blue, the bees ignored them. Thus, he established honey bees can see color. Children are often taught the result of experiments, but aren’t exposed to the experimental process as much.
Buzzing with Questions is an obvious choice for budding entomologists and to share for Black History Month, but its message of hope and persistence in the face of adversity will also resonate with a wide range of readers. Celebrate Turner’s love of books by sharing a copy today.
A NSTA/CBC Best STEM Book
Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Publisher: Calkins Creek (November 5, 2019)
Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.Opens in a new window Note: this is a new link as of 1/2019.