I love reading to my son!
His library has tons of books, but I wanted more books featuring positive images of black boys. Here’s why you’ll love Have You Thanked an Inventor Today? It’s now one of my favorite books for black boys.
Written by: Patrice McLaurin
Illustrated by: Dian Wang
Age Range: 5-12
Print Length: 28 Pages
Publisher: Digital Arts Publishing
What to expect:
This book review was tons of fun! You can expect colorful images depicting everyday life with inventions big and small that make a significant difference in our lives.
McLaurin captures the natural curiosity of children in Have You Thanked an Inventor Today, her first book. The book starts out with an engaging theme about how inventions make our lives easier and fun! The story is easy to read and relatable even for very young readers.
The book ends with 10 fun riddles, 10 questions to help readers comprehend the book’s central message and an invention box. The invention box is a great way to get your children to think of ways to improve everyday life! Lastly, the book has a group activity for the entire family or class.
Dylan and I spent the day looking for several inventions that McLaurin mentioned in her book. This was a fun activity and reminded me to dig deeper for significance to help build his self-esteem. Here is Dylan with Robert Fleming’s invention, the guitar!
Well, Have You Thanked an Inventor Today? If not, purchase a copy or two today! The book makes a perfect gift. Post a picture of you and your little one with an invention created by an African American mentioned, I would love to see it. Tag two people for a chance win an autographed copy of the book or Lonnie Johnson’s invention, the super soaker! Use #TAIbookreview and follow @typeaintrovert @patricemclaurin to enter the giveaway.
TAI: I purchased your book because the title and imagery stood out from all the other books on the shelf. Books for black boys are important. We have several books about African American inventors, but the little boy on the cover reminded me of my son, I had to buy it. What lead you to the decision to feature a little African American boy on the cover?
Patrice: Well first of all, thank you so much! My illustrator is awesome and she did a wonderful job! Also, I have to say this..the little boy is actually an adaptation of my son, so of course I’m partial to how beautiful he (the image) is! (lol) But, to answer to your question, though there are several reasons why I wanted to feature a little black boy on the cover, your response to the image when you saw it is one of the primary reasons. When my son was younger and I used to purchase picture books, I found that images of our boys were often under-represented, and I think that still holds true today. As such, it was important to me to feature a beautiful little black boy on the cover.
TAI: Some of the inventions that you wrote about were hidden gems. For example, Lyda Newman invented an improved model of the hairbrush and Frederick Jones invented the air conditioner. I never knew that! My son really liked that I was learning about these inventors with him. How long did it take you to research and select the inventors that you featured in the book?
Patrice: Honestly, I’ve been studying black history for quite a while, well before I began writing the book. Fortunately for me, a lot of the information I presented in the book was information that I was already familiar with. So it was really a matter of re-familiarizing myself with information that I already knew, fact checking of course, via books that I already had on my bookshelf, or reputable reference sites.
TAI: My son thinks his cousins and classmate in Pre-Kindergarten would enjoy this book. Can you tell us who inspired you to write it?
Patrice: I try so hard not to get to heavy when I’m asked this question, but I usually fail..lol! Beautiful little black boys like your son, like my son, inspired me to write this book. It was birthed in my mind during a time when it appeared as though every time I turned on the TV I was seeing one of our babies lying dead in the street. On top of that, we also had youth marching in the streets attempting to remind people that black lives mattered. And I’m thinking to myself, how discouraging is this, how terrifying is this, that we’re not only being gunned down in the streets by those who are supposed to protect and serve us, we’re also having to remind people that we’re human and that we matter. And the one thing that kept running through my mind, in the midst of all of this chaos, was how our youth, particularly our boys and young men, are customarily portrayed in the media.
The impressions that we see depicted of them daily is troubling to say the least and sometimes, I dare say, just outright dangerous. I think that most people will agree that any disparaging caricature that can be placed upon a person has been placed upon our boys and young men, causing the majority of us to see them as nothing more than thugs, gangsters, criminals. And who’s gonna have empathy or sympathy or compassion for a thug or a gangster right? As such, I wanted to offer an alternative image,
I wanted to shift the trajectory a bit, by offering an opportunity where our boys can be seen, and see themselves, in a positive light.
Additionally, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to also thank Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for planting a seed in my mind about the greatness of our people. He stated once, and I don’t know the quote verbatim, but he stated how we begin our day utilizing the genius of the black man’s mind and we don’t even realize it. That heightened my self-esteem something serious, and I felt like it would do the same thing for others. That was why I chose to focus on black inventors.
TAI: Now, that HYTAYT has been published I image your schedule has picked up a great deal. How can readers keep in touch and get sneak peaks to future book releases?
Patrice: I’m excited to say that it has! Readers can always visit my website, hytait.com, to find out more about and purchase the book, as well as, to book Author’s Visits. They can also check out my Facebook , that’s generally where I list all of my upcoming events. I’m also on Instagram: @patricemclaurin and Twitter: @mclaurinwrites
About Patrice McLaurin
Patrice McLaurin has worked to empower and to enhance the lives of young people for well over 15 years. Have You Thanked an Inventor Today? is Patrice’s first children’s book. Her goal is to demonstrate to children, how the genius of African-American minds is utilized on a daily basis. She also hopes to inspire children to recognize their own genius. Patrice McLaurin is a graduate of Alabama A&M University. She currently resides in Lawrenceville, GA with her husband and two children.
Have You Thanked an Inventor Today was reviewed by mother son team, LeJeanne and Dylan. Each month for the next 12 months Dylan and I will be reviewing books by African American authors featuring African American kids. Do you have a favorite book that you think we should read? Tell us below in the comments.