by Patrice McLaurin
“So we should thank the inventors, who invent great inventions, for without them, we might not get anything done.”
This adorably illustrated book walks us through the day in a young boy’s life and the things he uses and experiences that were created by Black inventors, like the pencil sharpener or peanut butter. The author also provides a brief biography for each inventor mentioned.
Talk About It
- Before beginning this book ask your child to name any inventors they have learned about. It is likely you will hear names like Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Edison. Point out that those are all White inventors & see if they can name someone who is Black. It is likely that they (or you) won’t be able to. This is a great opportunity to talk about the fact that many of the lessons plans and books created for learning have been written by White people. Our country has not done a good job of honoring the accomplishments of the diverse groups of people that make up our citizens. This book is a way to expand our thinking and knowledge.
- As you read the book, pause and marvel at some of these inventions. Ask your child to think about which of these smart men and women they might like to learn more about. Wonder aloud about how in the world someone came up with the idea for a lunchbox or super soaker.
- Talk about whether you think it would have been the same or harder for a Black inventor to get their creation out in to the world. Why or why not? (This is a chance to talk about parts of American history like enslavement, The belief that a person's personality, behavior, & values is based solely upon their race. It is also the belief that one group of people are better than another., and Separating one group of people from another; often based upon race. Segregation happens when a society views one group of people as better than another. The goal is to keep the "lesser" people away from the "superior" group. This is often done by treating the other group poorly and denying them basic civil rights..)
- As the book indicates, ask your child what they think life would be like without these inventions. Give an example of how some of the inventions make your life easier.
- Choose an inventor or two from the book and, as a family, learn more about their life and how they came up with their invention.
- Find a way to share these amazing thinkers with others by creating a poster or putting together a google doc, etc. See if your child would like to talk to their teacher about sharing this project with the class.
- Choose an inventor you would like to thank and send them a letter.
- Write to your school principal, superintendent, school board, and other state officials demanding changes to books & curriculum to be more inclusive in all areas of teaching. Have your child write a note about the inventors they just read about that were never mentioned in school.
- Brainstorm ideas for an invention you might one day create. Draw a picture of what it might look like. Make a list of the materials you might need to bring it to life.