August Bassett and Amy Fibbitts have made a history colouring book and it’s brilliant!
So much of the history taught in schools is about horrible people doing horrible things – wars, conquerors, revolutions, oppression etc etc etc. But there have actually been a lot of good things too, and a lot of good people, which don’t get much lesson time. Colour By History: a colouring book full of nice people from history, attempts to address that.
Schools don’t teach much about notable women who, undervalued though they were, got a lot done. In this book there are almost as many women as men!
And vegetarians – well! There seems to be a conspiracy of omission when it comes to teaching about big names in history who were passionate vegetarians and taught their followers to be vegetarian. Children do get taught about these people but they don’t get given the whole story. The vegetarian side of things, though it was very important to the historical person in question, gets left out of their story. Colour By History sets the record straight.
Children get taught at school about Pythagoras but not that he was vegetarian.
Plutarch, who lived from 45 to 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer and essayist. He studied maths and wrote philosophy. But I was never told at school that, being a very moral man, he said that animals deserve respect and should be treated with ethical consideration. He wrote
“We declare, then, that it is absurd for them to say that the practise of flesh-eating is based on nature. For that man is not naturally carnivorous is, in the first place, obvious from the structure of his body.”
I didn’t know that the ancient people of Mississippi – the Choctaw, Chicksaw, Muscogee and Cherokee tribes – before the Europeans came over and messed things up, lived on a diet of fruit and vegetables including stew containing corn, pumpkin and beans; bread made from corn and acorns; and corn porridge or roasted corn. Eating meat in the form of small birds or animals was very rare; even their clothes were made of plant fibres such as cotton, which they embroidered, and they never put feathers in their hair. Their shelters were made from wood, mud and bark. They respected animals, as illustrated in a Cherokee legend which describes humans, plants and animals living together in the beginning in “equality and mutual helpfulness”.
It’s so wonderful to read about these inspirational people throughout history, who were compassionate to humans and other animals. And colouring them in is so relaxing. The brief bios are all fully referenced at the bottom of each page so the reader can verify and read more about each person if they wish.
Children should be taught about the ethics these people lived by. It is so wrong to omit it from mainstream school history lessons. When you see how many times it happens, ie with how many historical vegetarians, you cannot help but realise that this omission is deliberate. And it makes me angry when I remember how my children were made to feel, being the only veg*ns in class. They should have been told what great names stood shoulder to shoulder with them.
This book is brilliant. Nice people from history: who wouldn’t want to learn about them?