I’ve been waiting for a book like this for over a decade now. Back when I had the honor of teaching first grade, my students engaged in research projects all year long. Black history was also taught all year long. Understanding the influence of the African Diaspora is a beneficial component for any classroom population, but the topic was essential for, and enthusiastically embraced by, my students because our community was made up of first generation Africans, Latin-Americans, and all of us to some degree are descendants of Africa. The Reign: North & South America published by PanAfrican Publishing House and written by C.Nichole, is a non-fiction gem comprised of history, illustrations, and a timeline of the African Diaspora throughout the Americas. The text is organized by nation, 20 altogether; from the Argentine to the Wampanoag.
For younger students
Depending on the age of my audience, I would include this book in my classroom two different ways. 1) for younger students, I would keep it behind my desk and bring it out only for read alouds and whole group instruction. Then eventually it would make it to the browsing bins and lending library, but only after it is intentionally taught, discussed, and processed. During read alouds, students always draw and write about the stories they listen to. Unsolicited commentary is allowed as well. I rarely shush. We like to keep learning multisensory around these parts.
For older students,
I would be sure to have at least four copies available for students to access during our research. The Reign: North & South America will be an essential resource for several different research topics that students may be engaged in. Some examples of research themes are: The African Diaspora, My Culture, Country Study, My People, Native Tribes, The Americas.
I greatly appreciate that the book has page numbers. One wouldn’t expect most children’s books to not have page numbers, but rarely they do. I prefer page numbered books for research purposes. To teach research skills while also teaching history, I add color-coded sticky notes to pages in the book where specific information can be found. I then have a corresponding classroom chart that displays each stickynote color’s content area. This is a great way to structure and guide independent work time or social studies centers.
Although comprehensive, this book will also spark many questions in it’s readers of any age and inspire them to want to research more:
Where can I learn more about Nacimiento de Los Negros?
Is there still a Maroon community in Nova Scotia?
What else did Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) accomplish in Jamaica?
Am I part of the Diaspora?
I particularly appreciated learning about the Seminole and Mascogo because my great great grandmother, Sallie Hamilton, was, according to family legend, 100% Seminole and lived in Pensacola Florida with her husband, John Boyle and their two daughters. I have a picture of her at the beach with my grandfather in the early 1930s. When I find it, I’ll add it to this post.
The 18 other ethnic groups included are: Argentine, Cherokee, Cuban, Curacaoan, Ecuadorian, Garifuna, Haitian, Jamaican, , Miskito, Narragansett, Panamanian, Pequot, Quilombola, Saint Lucian, Saamaka, Shinnecock, Trinbagonian, and Wampanoag. Hopefully, this book will provide you with more information on your ancestral group too.
Thanks for reading.
– The Picture Book Pusher.