bookseducationalimaginative play

The Black Book of Colors {book review}

A good friend of mine gave a book to my daughter titled, The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin (author) and Rosana Faria (illustrator).  It has to be one of the most unique and special books I have ever seen, and was delighted for my daughter to experience it. First published in Mexico as El Libro Negro de los Colores, this book is printed completely in black with raised printed illustrations.  You must use touch and visualize color, putting tangible thoughts to colors.

The Black Book of COlors

If you are not born blind it is impossible to explain how a blind person sees color.  It is not in the traditional sense, of course, but with textures, scents, sounds, even tastes.  The level of depth this book creates is spectacular.  It encourages provoking interpretations of something we see everyday–a rainbow of color.  Printed on each page is a descriptive sentence for each color–in white English and braille above.  The adjacent page is raised imagery to go with the description.  I found my daughter loved to close her eyes as I read the color descriptions so she could fully visualize the scene, all while touching the illustrations.  Often she has things to add that remind her of the different colors.

To fully imagine a world without sight is impossible.  It is even more impossible to try and explain it to a five year old.  The Black Book of Colors gives us a glimpse into the world of the blind and a deeper appreciation for the beautiful images around us.  This was my favorite color description:  “But black is the king of all the colors.  It is as soft as silk when his mother hugs him and her hair falls in his face.”

At the end of the book you will find the entire alphabet printed in braille.  I believe every kid (and adult) should have this book to help them understand a bit of the blind world.  After the first read of The Black Book of Colors, my daughter expressed that she would like to have a blind friend because, “they must have the best imaginations ever.”  I had to agree and I was impressed with her ability to see the beauty in the darkness.  The first kid she meets without sight better be ready to play!

Purchase The Black Book of Colors for your kids or others–They make great gifts!

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