Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum is the interesting story about how Dubble Bubble chewing gum was invented. It was made in small candy factory in Philadelphia in the 1920s by a man named Walter Diemer. Walter was an accountant, but became curious about a laboratory next to his office. The company was trying to make a new kind of chewing gum. Walter experimented with different mixtures until finally bubbles formed. He added some flavor and began to chew it. Walter blew large bubbles from the mixture. However, the next day the mixture was as hard as a rock and wouldn’t blow a bubble. So, Walter continued to find the correct ingredients and finally had what he wanted. He added pink coloring, since that was the only color available. Batches were sent to local stores and Walter Diemer gave gum blowing lessons. He never got rich from his invention, but he didn’t care because he enjoyed making people happy as they blew bubble gum. The book provides additional information about Walter Diemer, gum facts, and the history of gum.
Fun Gum Facts:
- If you swallow your gum, it won’t stay in your stomach for seven years.
- Dubble Bubble was included in ration kits for American soldiers serving in World War II.
- The largest bubble recorded is set by Susan Montgomery Williams for twenty-three inches in diameter.
- During World War II, some kids kept their Dubble Bubble “alive” in glasses of water at night. Some even managed to continue chewing one piece for as long as a month!
- Chewing sugarless gum can prevent tooth decay.
- Chewing gum on an airplane will prevent your ears from popping.
by Carey Wallace
Historical Fiction, 207 pages
The book took place during the nineteenth century in Italy. Contessa Carolina Fantoni was going blind, yet nobody believed not even her fiancé. The only believer was her friend, Pellegrino Turri who also turned into her lover. Turri was ten years older and married himself, yet they sneaked away to the lake house where Carolina spent so much time in her youth. Her husband basically held her captive and locked the house, because he was in fear that she wouldn’t be able to handle the outside world being blind. Turri proclaimed that he loved her and begged to run away together. Carolina attempted to write a letter, but it was a disaster because the ink spilled and she couldn’t write straight. Turri invented a typewriter for her to write letters. She was now able to freely write to family and secret messages to Turri. The story events were true, since Pellegrino Turri was often accredited for inventing the first working typewriter and carbon paper. Unfortunately, not much was known about the typewriter but some of Carolina’s letters written on the typewriter survived.
The Blind Contessa’s New Machine was interesting, because there were no chapters and it seemed almost like a whimsical tale. Books need a problem or conflict, but this book really didn’t have anything besides the fact that she was blind and had a lover. I think the only reason I finished the book was because it was so easy and fast.
by William Kamkwamba and Brian Mealer
Non-fiction, 288 pages
I really enjoyed this book and thought it was inspirational. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was the selected book during the Tacoma Reads Together Program which started briefly after 9/11. The purpose was to bring the community together through events that hopefully lead into discussion. Other cities also began similar programs. I was lucky enough to attend a book talk with the author.
William Kamkwamba grew up in a small village in the struggling country of Malawi. Malawi is an African country known for its poverty, high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, food shortage, low life expectancy, and based with an agriculture economy. The book describes a boy who wanted to improve his family and village. Kamkwamba was forced to drop out of school, since his parents couldn’t pay the tuition. However, this didn’t stop him from learning and he constantly visited the library. There was a major food crisis and the book went into detail about death and daily struggles that people went through to get food. Kamkwamba was only 14 when he stumbled upon a book about electricity from wind power. Malawi’s strong wind charged Kamkwamba to design a windmill to harness the wind to provide electricity. Nobody understood what he was doing and thought he was going crazy, but nothing stopped him. He finally designed his windmill with various scrap metal, including a bicycle, and was able to light a bulb and power a radio. Journalist noticed the success and Kamkwamba gained positive recognition and traveled to the United States to share his story. He continues building windmills to help his village with water for irrigation and electricity. I highly recommend this book for everyone.
There are so many times when individuals may want to give up or become discouraged from struggles. Kamkwamba’s story was so inspirational and moving even when others continually told him that he was wasting his time. They told him he was wasting his time, because others didn’t understand his vision. His simple windmill vision improved his village. Keep your vision alive and strive through life’s challenges.
William Kamkwamba’s message: If you want to do it, all you have to do is try.