Black Is a Rainbow Color
Black Is a Rainbow Color

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Annotation: A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this moving and powerful anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on.
Catalog Number: #206630
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Illustrator: Holmes, Ekua,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-626-72631-0 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7265-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-626-72631-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7265-5
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2019018555
Dimensions: 25 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
A young girl sits on her stoop contemplating the colors of the rainbow, then notes, "But my color is black...and there's no black in rainbows." There is, however, black in a crayon box, black in nature ("a feather in snow"), and black in fun ("the bottoms of summertime feet"). And the black of Black culture is rich indeed, as the succeeding pages show. The rhyming text uses familiar symbols and motifs (black-eyed peas, a cooking skillet "for bread to fry," blues music) as well as allusions to specific examples of African American art, music, poetry, and literature ("Black are the birds in cages that sing") to create a mosaic of a community and culture that survives and thrives. Holmes's illustrations use heavy lines and strong colors with soft touches of collage detail to represent everyday children as well as the iconic figures referenced in the text. Details in the back matter increase the book's value: there's a playlist; an explication of selected phrases ("Robe on Thurgood's Back"; "Dreams and Raisins"); several poems by Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar; "A Timeline of Black Ethnonyms in America" (from Negro to black to Black); and a bibliography (for adults). A treasure trove of positivity, strength, and pride for anyone seeking to uplift and educate young people.
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* A beautifully told and illustrated celebration of African American people and ethnology, Black Is a Rainbow Color thoughtfully explores what the Black experience means to a child. Starting with the young narrator's personal experience with the color black ("Black is the braid in my best friend's hair / Black are the bottoms of summertime feet"), then moving toward historical and cultural events ("Black was the man / who gave the world his dream"), each line emphasizes the positive connotations of the word. Accentuating these efforts are Holmes' (Voice of Freedom, 2015) gorgeous illustrations, which are reminiscent of stained-glass church windows and manifest the many ways people of African descent can be beautiful. After the rhyming text, Joy supplies historical and cultural notes (including descriptions of how each page spread relates to a specific segment of Black history and a time line of the words used to describe Black people since the first enslaved people arrived in colonial America), a song list featuring deliberately chosen celebratory music from throughout the decades, and three poems. All provide context for the people depicted within and for the mores of each era. A must-have for children's collections.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (3/1/20)
Starred Review for Horn Book
Horn Book (4/1/20)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Reading Level: 3.0
Interest Level: K-3

A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this moving and powerful anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on. Red is a rainbow color. Green sits next to blue. Yellow, orange, violet, indigo, They are rainbow colors, too, but My color is black . . . And there's no BLACK in rainbows. From the wheels of a bicycle to the robe on Thurgood Marshall's back, Black surrounds our lives. It is a color to simply describe some of our favorite things, but it also evokes a deeper sentiment about the incredible people who helped change the world and a community that continues to grow and thrive. Stunningly illustrated by Caldecott Honoree and Coretta Scott King Award winner Ekua Holmes, Black Is a Rainbow Color is a sweeping celebration told through debut author Angela Joy's rhythmically captivating and unforgettable words. An ALSC Notable Children's Book 2021 An NCTE 2021 Notable Poetry Book A 2021 Notable Social Studies Trade Book of the NCSS/CBC A New York Public Library Best Book of 2020 A Washington Post Best Book of 2020 A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year A 2020 Jane Addams Children's Book Award Honoree

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