For most adults living in America, the title of these magazines, itself, dares the reader to open up those pages. After all, this country is still peeling away the layers of dishonesty crammed into textbooks that minimize atrocities and erase collective trauma in the name of patriotism and nationalism. Honest History invites you to fact check your own historical understanding, as this reviewer found. Or if you are a younger person, perhaps the invitation lies in learning it correctly the first time.
There are running themes in Honest History
There is no mistake that the intention of these magazines is to educate the youth.
Colorful illustrations grace every page and there are comprehension exercises one can engage in at the end of the lesson. Each magazine offers a particular topic it explores and in doing so provides anecdotes, biographical essays, lexicons, games, timelines, and other interactive elements to keep the young people interested. This allows for a reader to choose a topic they are interested in and through it also learn some elements of other school subjects such as science or math. If you have a reader who is inspired by Jacques Cousteau, they can dive into the oceanography issue; a young athlete can run with the Olympic Games issue; a budding scientist can have a light bulb shine with the issue on Tesla and Edison.
Honest is in the name
Although Honest History keeps the material accessible and age-appropriate, in this reviewer’s opinion, it could have used some more examples of truth-telling perhaps where there have been none or minimal in previously published textbooks. The title implies that other publications that have come before it have not disclosed the full truth.
For example, in the electricity issue, the war of the currents between Tesla and Edison wasn’t the only rivalry, and omitting Westinghouse and the travesty of the electric chair and the death penalty is a missed opportunity. If we are to be perfectly honest, we have to start admitting our heroes are fallible, even to our youngest readers.
Young historical enthusiasts can start with Honest History
As is, Honest History still offers a plethora of tidbits, easy-to-follow biographical stories, colorful pictures, and engaging quizzes. The format seems to target pre-teens and hopefully, those who are intrigued by historical events will find the magazines a launching point for their budding interests.
About the Author: Tonika Todorova
Tonika Todorova dabbles in writing, producing, directing, acting, singing, curating, parenting, meditating, experimenting, gardening, traveling, filming, people connecting and life navigating.