The Black Book of Colors

blackbookThe Black Book of Colors

Menena Cottin, Author

Rosana Faria, Illustrator

Elisa Amado, Translator

Groundwood Books, Fiction, 2008

Suitable for Ages: 5-10

Themes: Experiencing what it’s like to be blind, Exploring senses

Opening: “Thomas says that yellow tastes like mustard, but is as soft as a baby chick’s feathers…Thomas likes all the colors because he can hear them and smell them and touch them and taste them.”

Book Jacket Synopsis: It is very hard for a sighted person to imagine what it is like to be blind. This groundbreaking, award-winning book endeavors to convey the experience of a person who can only see through his or her sense of touch, taste, smell or hearing.

Why I like this book: Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria’s have teamed up to create an extraordinary book for sighted children to help them experience what it is like to be blind and depend upon their senses. The entire book is on black paper. The pages on the left have white text at the bottom where Thomas describes a color using his senses and beautiful imagery. There is Braille at the top of the page which helps a sighted child to imagine what it is like to read by touch.  On the corresponding pages the illustrations are elegant and delicate raised black line drawings which are meant to be revealed by the touch of finger tips. This book is a masterpiece that teaches children how to describe colors by using all of their senses. The book is not intended for visually impaired children.

Resources: I would use this book to discuss visual impairments. The book alone is a resource. It asks readers to be blind. It a remarkable way for children to experience the world through touch, smell, taste and sound. At the end of the book is a raised braille alphabet.  Activity: Create a class book of colors and ask children to draw a picture of something that represents a color and write a sense that corresponds to their picture.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

54 thoughts on “The Black Book of Colors

  1. This is a fascinating idea, Pat, and a much-needed one! I’m very interested that the items described as yellow actually ARE yellow (mustard, chick) even though a blind person can’t see that. You’d think that a blind person might perceive yellow as soft like grass or something… I’d be very interested to see this book!

  2. This sounds like an extraordinary book. I’m going to buy it and share with my writing critique group. What a great way to remind us to incorporate all of our senses in our descriptions.

  3. Interesting concept. Can’t wait to see it for myself. Sounds like this could be used with adults too.

    • Yes, the concept is wonderful for this book. I think adults and writers would benefit. Someone commented about using it as a reminder to writers to incorporate the senses into our writing.

  4. What a beautiful book. My son’s first grade class just went to the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library. I bet his teachers may want to incorporate this book into their curriculum–if they haven’t already. Thanks for sharing!

  5. It is impossible not to love this book. Thanks for introducing it to you readers. I saw a great video of a class encountering this book for the first time. I couldn’t find it this morning, but I’ll keep looking.

  6. As I read your review all I kept saying to myself was WHOA! Amazing! So glad you introduced me to this. 🙂

  7. Wonderful review, Pat. I had seen this book and immediately thought of what a great tool it was not only for children but also for writers, stepping outside the box, using all senses, it’s sparse text, use of imagination…. I don’t know why I never thought to review it for PPBF. Thank you,

  8. It is so good for sighted children to read about what it is like to be blind (good for adults too actually) It is hard to empathize if you have no idea. This book is a gem.

    • Yes, I think the book is a gem for children, adults and writers. It touches the readers on many levels.

      Finished Amanda last night — I really enjoyed the detail in the story. Very vivid. I could picture everything in my mind.

  9. I received my copy today and it is everything you suggested in your review. Can’t wait to share it with my writer’s group and my daughter who teaches fourth grade. a gem. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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