The Boo Boos That Changed the World by Barry Wittenstein Illustrated by Chris Hsu

Did you ever wonder how Band-Aids were invented?  If so, you are in luck.  Author Barry Wittenstein humorously tells the story of Earle Dickson and how Band-Aids came to be.

It seems Earle’s wife, Josephine was accident prone especially in the kitchen. When preparing meals, it was common for Josephine to cut or burn herself. To make matters worst, bandaging herself with bulky towels caused her to injure herself even more.  Earle took pity on his young wife fearing her cuts would become infected.  Fortunately, for Josephine, Earle was not only the son of a doctor but also worked for a hospital supply company.  Ever hear of Johnson & Johnson?

After some thoughtful pondering, Earle designed the first “band aid” which consisted of adhesive tape, sterile gauze, and crinoline.  Josephine’s boo boos were now covered, and they lived happily ever after, right?  But..wait!  Earle realized that Josephine was not the only person who could benefit from his invention. He shared his bandage with his boss, James Johnson, who agreed to produce and sell them as Band-Aids.

To the readers’ surprise, Band-Aids were not an overnight success.  It was not until they were mass produced by a machine and given away to the Boy Scouts and the army during World War II that Band-Aids became a hit not just in the United States but all over the world!

Told in a playful narrative, Wittenstein’s account of Earle’s invention is highly engaging and entertaining.  In my district, our third graders just finished a unit, Inventions and Innovations so I cannot wait to share this book with students.  In the author’s note, Wittenstein admits he invented Earle and Josephine’s dialogue and shares additional information about Earle.  Chris Hsu’s illustrations transport the reader back to that time period and make the story come alive.  Also included at the end of the book is a timeline, a list of other medical inventions from the 1920s and 1930s, and websites for further research.  The next time I use a Band-Aid, I will think fondly of Earle and thank him for his ingenuity.

Special thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of The Boo Boos That Changed the World.  Look for its release soon in February 2018.

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