Thursday, April 25, 2019


A reader asked if I have seen Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt. Written by Carrie Clickard, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, it came out on January 1, 2019 from Simon and Schuster.

This page, with the Indian hiding behind a tree, prompted the question:

Image from inside of book, showing Thomas Jefferson on a horse, an Indian peeking from behind a tree, and an Black woman (likely enslaved), holding a US flag.

As I study the page, I have these thoughts:

See Jefferson holding up the Constitution? With its "We the People" declaration? Some people weren't included in that "We the People" idea. Enslaved people were not included. Neither were Native people (see Rights Matter for details).

My guess is that the Black woman holding the flag was enslaved. And see the Indian hiding behind the tree (when, oh when will writers and illustrators stop with that particular image?!)? Is it misleading to readers to have those two individuals there when they were not included in "We the People"?

The facing page starts with "In the New World, called America" changes were coming. What's wrong with that? To Native people, it wasn't a new world, and it wasn't called America. In the coming pages, will the author/illustrator acknowledge that fact? Or... leave it out?

 "We're still fighting with the British" and "join our brave new nation" are also on that page. What about the peoples of Native Nations that the settlers were fighting?

Those two pages look, sound, and feel a lot like Lin Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. I've ordered the book and will be back with a review.