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Books For Children

The Black Book of Colors

The Black Book of Colors

by Menena Cottin, Rosana Faria, and Elisa Amado

With entirely black pages and a bold white text, this is not your typical color book. Meant to be experienced with the fingers instead of the eyes, this extraordinary book allows sighted readers to experience colors the way blind people do: through the other senses. The text, in both print and Braille, presents colors through touch (yellow is “as soft as a baby chick’s feathers”), taste (red “as sweet as watermelon”), smell (“green smells like grass that’s just been cut”), and sound (brown “crunches…like fall leaves”). FarĂ­a’s distinctive illustrations present black shapes embossed on a black background for readers to feel instead of see. One page even describes a rainbow. A guide to the Braille alphabet appears at the end of the book. Fascinating, beautifully designed, and possessing broad child appeal, this book belongs on the shelves of every school or public library committed to promoting disability awareness and accessibility.

– image and description courtesy of Amazon.com
The Three Questions

The Three Questions

by John J. Muth

Muth (Come On, Rain!) recasts a short story by Tolstoy into picture-book format, substituting a boy and his animal friends for the czar and his human companions. Yearning to be a good person, Nikolai asks, “When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do?” Sonya the heron, Gogol the monkey and Pushkin the dog offer their opinions, but their answers do not satisfy Nikolai. He visits Leo, an old turtle who lives in the mountains. While there, he helps Leo with his garden and rescues an injured panda and her cub, and in so doing, finds the answers he seeks. As Leo explains, “There is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side.” Moral without being moralistic, the tale sends a simple and direct message unfreighted by pomp or pedantry. Muth’s art is as carefully distilled as his prose. A series of misty, evocative watercolors in muted tones suggests the figures and their changing relationships to the landscape. Judicious flashes of color quicken the compositions, as in the red of Nikolai’s kite (the kite, released at the end, takes on symbolic value).

– image and description courtesy of Amazon.com