History is a tricky thing. On the one hand, we’ve got the well-known, “front burner” historical facts and figures that most of us learn growing up. But then there’s all the less-well-known aspects of history that are just as true, just as valuable, yet often hidden from most people as they learn about all the things that brought us to the place we are today.
When I started Enrichment Studies many years ago, right away I noticed the lack of women and people of color in the arts, and that put me on a path of questioning and discovery. Were there any women or non-white people creating music and art through the ages? I learned that the answer was yes! But why don’t we hear more about them? Why haven’t their contributions earned a spot in the history books? If we only look at the surface, it would be easy to think that so many things have come to us solely through the talents and innovations of white men. Indeed, due to the social structures and conquests of the past, white men have often been in the best position to create and innovate, but they are not the only ones that have. Home educators and involved, mindful parents can reclaim the fullness of history for ourselves and our children by digging deeper and learning more than just the surface level with helpful resources like the ones Tamara Shiloh has created in her Just Imagine….What If There Were No Black People In the World book series. Affiliate links are used in this post.
This book caught my attention one day, because the topic matches two we focus on at Enrichment Studies: Inventors and Scientists. I also liked it because this fits in with my desire to help bring about a broader awareness of our diverse history to the homeschool community. I have had the privilege of speaking to Mrs. Shiloh on the phone a few times, and was so excited when she agreed to have me review these books for you. She is also generously sponsoring a giveaway, so be sure to enter at the bottom of this post!
In this sweet story, a young boy named Jaxon is taken on a magical adventure, thanks to his grandmother’s necklace and his curious mind. When he asks himself one day, “What if there were no Black people in the world?” he is taken on a journey of discovery about how his everyday life would be impacted without the many inventions and scientific advancements that were created by the men and women of color that came before him. As I kept learning about these remarkable people, I was filled with gratitude for being able to learn about them, and also filled with a desire to make sure other families get to learn about this too. This isn’t just a book for Black families, although certainly people of color will want to add this delightful book to their collection. But this is a book for every family that truly values history and wants their children to grow up with a broader awareness of our collective human story, and wants to be purposeful in fostering a curious mindset and appreciation for the diversity that is woven into our everyday lives. In the book, one of the inventors says to Jaxon, “We’re your history, and history never goes away.” We have an opportunity to make sure the history and accomplishments of all people is not swept aside and hidden from our awareness, if we are willing to. Change starts at home, and every family has the power to foster greater awareness, compassion, and appreciation for our fellow humans.
In addition to the main storybook, there are three wonderful companion books in the series, so far. Jaxon’s Journal reinforces the information from the main book, while also inspiring kids to create their own journals about things they have learned. Jaxon’s Black History Coloring Book includes the many inventions and scientific advancements from the main book, plus many more. It’s a perfect addition to the book, and provides an activity for younger siblings and students who love to get out their crayons and colored pencils! Jaxon’s Black History Activity Book includes word scrambles, crossword puzzles, word puzzles and games, reading and writing activities about the inventors and scientists, and more. All together this set will provide a lot of fun, historical richness, and reinforcement for your children. It is perfect for a unit study for homeschoolers, or a starting point for research projects. Due to the nice range of materials included in this bundle, I think children from K-high school could certainly appreciate the content, with the elementary and middle school ages probably being most ideal. These books are available at TamaraShiloh.com as well as through Amazon Prime.
Author Tamara Shiloh is on a mission to educate about Black History year-round, and has many other books in this series coming soon! You can look forward to sharing with your children about Black women that were instrumental in science and inventions, Black cowboys, Black people involved in aviation and astronomy at NASA and beyond, and more.