Best of 2021: ‘Comprehensive’ children’s book on Welsh history ‘a game changer’ says publisher
This week Nation.Cymru are counting out the year by revisiting our literature highlights of 2021. This piece was initially published in September, followed by a review in October written by Ifan Morgan Jones.
In the final paragraph of his review Ifan concluded: “If teachers across Wales are looking for a teaching aid for the new open-ended national curriculum due to be introduced next year, they could do much worse than using this book as a key text.”
Earlier this month it was confirmed that History Grounded will be sent to all schools in Wales to aid in the teaching of the new national curriculum.
A book by one of Wales’ most established historians is a “game changer” for public understanding of the nation’s history, according to the publisher.
In History Grounded, Dr Elin Jones takes readers on a visual journey through over 5,000 years of history around the whole of Wales. According to Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, the book is a “comprehensive, must-have book of Wales’ history, from the Cromlechi to the Senedd” and is suitable for children 8-12 years old.
The book asks who were the first people to live in Wales, why is Glyndŵr so important to the Welsh, what was Wales’s role in the slave trade and what influence did the sea have on our history?
The book’s cover depicts the Red Wall of Wales, giving representation to local areas in Wales as well as various campaigns such as Black Lives Matter and the fight for LGBT+ rights.
The English book will be published along side the Welsh-language version Hanes yn y Tir.
Gwasg Carreg Gwalch said that “representing Wales’ history in all its rich diversity was central to the work”.
“During the past year we have gained a new appreciation of the importance of learning the history of margainaised communities, as well as an appreciation of education as a tool to fight against racism and all other forms of prejudice,” they said.
“This is the most comprehensive, colourful, and ambitious Welsh history book for children. It’s a game changer.”
Dr Elin Jones, the books author taught at the schools of Preseli, Rhydfelen and Cwm Rhymni before being appointed education officer at the National Museum. Part of her work then included collaborating with experts to prepare resources for learners.
In 1996 she began consultancy work with the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales, which included regulating the history qualifications, developing the history curriculum and methods of assessment, and also commissioning history teaching resources.
She chaired the taskforce responsible for preparing the report to the Minister for Education on the Welsh Curriculum, the history and story of Wales in 2013.
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The book is uninspiring, unexciting and almost presents a begrudging attitude to our past. A lot of pages are afforded to the Romans and Normans and the word Cymru is only used once. Many of the key moments in our history are quickly skirted over, omitted or fail to mention even the most basic of facts or names. The chartist risings are described as,’riots’, for god’s sake? The book falls well short of what I was expecting and it saddens me to say, it’s absolute rubbish.My 10 year old will need something better than this to inspire her,as I feel… Read more »
Oh dear. My next comment was deleted from view. Much like our history.
Hi nation Cymru. I now dought your integrity.Ovrer and out… Dickie Dought.