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Highlights Press Fall 2019

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Buzzing with Questions
The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner
By (author): Janice N. Harrington Illustrated by: Theodore Taylor III
9781629795584 Hardcover English Juvenile: Age (years) from 7 - 10, Grade (US) from 2 - 5 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Science & Technology Nov 05, 2019
$24.99 CAD
Active 8.88 x 11.31 x 0.4 in 48 pages FULL-COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS THROU Boyd Mills Press Calkins Creek
A 2020 NSTA/CBC Best STEM Book

The curiosity of the first African American entomologist Charles Henry Turner—a scientist who studied bugs—shines in this nonfiction picture book, which showcases his ideas and discoveries about ants, bees, and other insects.

Charles Henry Turner’s mind itched with questions. Fascinated by animals, bugs, and crustaceans, Turner studied their lives. When books didn’t answer his questions, he researched, experimented, and looked for answers on his own, even when faced with racial prejudice. Author Janice Harrington and artist Theodore Taylor III capture the life of this scientist and educator, highlighting his unstoppable curiosity and his passion for insects and biology. The extensive back matter includes an author’s note, timeline, bibliography, source notes, and archival images.

Story Locale: The book is set in Cincinnati, OH, St. Louis, MO, and has connections to Chicago, IL , where Charles Henry Turner was buried and attended the University of Chicago.

A DIVERSE PICTURE BOOK: This book focuses on the life and discoveries of African American scientist Charles Henry Turner, filling the need for picture books featuring diverse historical figures; the book is written and illustrated by a noted African American author and illustrator.

PERFECT STEM BOOK FOR THE CLASSROOM: This book explores many areas of science, including biology, entomology, and experimentation, making it an ideal book for students.

FILLS A HOLE IN THE MARKET: There are no picture books on Charles Henry Turner. This biography introduces young readers to this important but perhaps little-known scientist.

YOUNG READERS WILL IDENTIFY WITH TURNER: They will appreciate his curiosity and drive to discover more about the world, and be inspired to pursue their own curiosities.

EXTENSIVE BACK MATTER: The book includes an author’s note, timeline, bibliography, source notes, and information on selected papers by Charles Henry Turner.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS: This book includes references to science, biology, entomology, post-Civil War America, race relations and prejudice, experimentation, etc.

Janice N. Harrington is an award-winning poet and children’s book author. Her children’s books include Catching a Storyfish, Busy-Busy Little Chick, Roberto Walks Home, The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County, and Going North. She is the director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Theodore Taylor III is the illustrator of multiple children’s books, including Shaquille O’Neal’s Little Shaq series and When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop, for which he received the Coretta Scott King John Steptoe New Talent Award. Visit

Author Residence: Champaign, IL

Theodore Taylor III is the illustrator of multiple children's books, including Shaquille O'Neal's Little Shaq series and When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop, for which he received the Coretta Scott King John Steptoe New Talent Award. Visit

Illustrator Residence: Richmond, VA

Marketing: Advertising

Institutional advertising—review based

Wholesaler co-op advertising


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Author & illustrator Q&A/feature on

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Publicity: Publicity/Social Media

Pitch to educator and librarian bloggers with science angle

Pitch to NSTA and other science publications

Promote book on BMP Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest with visual assets and giveaways

Pitch to author/illustrator local media (Champaign, IL/Richmond, VA)

Regional publicity outreach where Charles Henry Turner lived (Cincinnati/Chicago)

Author Website:

★ “A relatively unknown entomologist comes out of oblivion in this engaging picture book biography. Harrington’s text is inviting, and Turner’s enthusiasm comes through clearly…Taylor’s bright, cheerful, expertly rendered cartoon illustrations complement the text. Harrington and Taylor have rescued a worthy scientist from obscurity.”—School Library Journal, starred review 

“A thorough biography of early African American scientist Charles Henry Turner…(the) extensively researched, jam-packed text intrigues and inspires with Turner’s example of discovery and hard-won, meaningful contributions to knowledge about life. A well-written tribute to a deserving champion of science.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Full-color digital illustrations and Harrington’s conversational, sometimes lyrical prose tell the story of ’indefatigable’ African-American entomologist and zoologist Charles Henry Turner…fascinating…”—Publishers Weekly 


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