Title: The Colors of Us
Written and Illustrated by: Karen Katz
Good For: Kids ages 4-9
Outline: Lena, with the help of her mother, an artist, learns that there are different shades of brown, which she sees while on a walk through her neighborhood. She meets many of her friends and neighbors along the way, ranging from Lucy (“peachy and tan”) to Sonia (“a light yellow brown, like creamy peanut butter”) to Candy (“bronze and amber…like a princess”).
Lena marvels at all the different shades of those around her, and she is inspired to mix her mother’s paints in varying combinations to create paintings of everyone she’s met that day.
The Pros: Gorgeous gouache illustrations fill this book throughout, and the message of celebrating racial diversity is beautifully explained from a child’s point of view, for children.
The Cons: Most of the descriptions of skin colors are sweet foods (“Cinnamon, chocolate, and honey. Coffee, toffee, and butterscotch.”) You will be seriously hungry after reading this.
The Bottom Line: This book is a simple way to introduce the beauty of those around us in a fun (and delicious) format, without reducing the conversation to black and white—and brown.
Image credits: us.macmillan.com