Alumni Life

Adventures in History and Life

During the pandemic, Tierra Haynes, BA ’06, wrote The Adventures of Us: Getting to Know Guion Bluford Jr., a 2021 self-published children’s book about the first African American person in space. In the book, three brothers (modeled after Haynes’ three young sons) use their imaginations to take a trip to space. There they meet Bluford, a NASA astronaut whose first mission was on the crew of the space shuttle Challenger in 1983. On their journey, the boys also learn the importance of brotherhood, perseverance and imagination.


Haynes Family

Haynes says her sons, who were interested in space at the time, helped create their characters. And she brought in illustrator Morgan Jennings to immortalize them and Bluford on the book’s cover and pages.


Adventures of Us Book Cover

The idea for the book came to Haynes when her younger children were repeatedly watching a movie about a boy and his dog who travel back in time to visit historical figures. Haynes wondered, Why do these characters rarely meet anybody who is Black? Then her eldest son, DeAndre Jr., felt uncomfortable when his third grade classmates looked to him during discussions about Black History Month. Haynes thought about writing a children’s book so kids could learn more about prominent Black people in American history.

However, a busy life and frequent moves left her little time to bring her idea to life. Her husband, DeAndre Haynes, BBA ’06, whom she met at Kent State, is a college basketball coach whose career has moved their family from Ohio to Illinois, Michigan, Maryland and Wisconsin in the span of 10 years. When COVID-19 hit and things slowed down, she was able to pursue her book project.

While her sons (Dre Jr., Devon and Dallas) come from a sports family and are surrounded by basketball players, Haynes wants to expand their worldview and help them discover careers that focus on their interests, whatever those may be. She hopes to publish a series of books to highlight the achievements of Black people.

During her family’s travels, Haynes also began an online community for mothers to support each other as they navigate life and motherhood. She increased her social media presence, changed her Instagram handle to @Mommyonthemove, and began a blog by the same name, as well as a podcast. The community she created has blossomed, but her goals for the community remain simple: to empower busy moms and help them find their inner strengths.

The Adventures of Us: Getting to Know Guion Bluford Jr. is available at and on Amazon.

Kent State awarded Dr. Bluford (who compiled more than 688 hours in space before his retirement in 1993) an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree in 1995. Two scholarships have been created in his name: the “Dr. Guion S. Bluford, Jr. Minority STEM Scholarship,” established by Friends of Kent State University at Trumbull, and the “Dr. Guion S. Bluford, Jr. Minority Aeronautics Scholarship,” established by Friends of the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology. Both were established to support Dr. Bluford’s interest in assisting minority students to pursue a degree in a STEM discipline.