The Black Book of Colors
Written by Menena Cottin
Illustrated by Rosana Faria
Publication Date June 01, 2008
A New York Times Book Review choice as one of the 10 Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2008
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.
Raised black line drawings on black paper, which can be deciphered by touch, complement a beautifully written text describing colors through imagery. Braille letters accompany the text so that the sighted reader can begin to imagine what it is like to use Braille to read. A full Braille alphabet at the end of the book can be used to learn more.
Selected for the NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts 2009
Selected for the Booklist Top 10 Art Books for Youth 2008
Selected for the New York Times Best Illustrated Books 2008
Selected for the School Library Journal Best Books 2008
Selected for the Booklist Editors' Choice - Books for Youth 2008
Selected for the VOYA Nonfiction Honor List 2008
Menena Cottin studied design and illustration at the Pratt Institute in New York where she began writing books. Her most recent title, The Black Book of Colors, was selected as a School Library Journal Best Books of the Year. She lives in Venezuela.
Rosana Faria has illustrated many highly regarded children's books, but illustrating a book to be touched has been her greatest challenge. She lives in Caracas, Venezuela.
"...simple, sensuous text...The objects described with embossed lines that force readers to encounter them tactilely rather than visually. The shock readers feel will give way to wonder as they lose themselves in sightlessness and imagine the richness...Fascinating, challenging and lovely." Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
"...this non-picture book by a pair of Venezuelan artists reads triumphantly...While the concept is arresting in itself, Thomas' proclamations about color reveal him as a bold, engaging character...It would be a mistake to read the book as a message about how the other senses compensate for blindness: 'compensate' doesn't do justice to all that Thomas offers about what he tastes and feels and hears and smells." Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
"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. A feast for the fingers." School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
"What is most remarkable abuot this book's captivating concept...Is its execution." Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
"This inventive picture book relates the ways the unseen Thomas experiences colors...Black raised line art is set against black pages that echo Thomas' spirited imagery and invite readers to explore what it's like to read with their fingertips. The descriptive, sensory text, which also incorporates white type and Braille, combined with an innovative design, makes this book the perfect starting point for discussions on difference, perspective, and experiencing and describing the world in new ways, topics that are relevant to readers of all ages." Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
"...[a] most intriguing, very black book..." Globe and Mail
"The Black Book of Colors [is] an intellectually challenging, graphically remarkable picture book." New York Times
"The Black Book of Colors provides an excellent opportunity for children and adults to explore experiences and perspectives that are different from their own. Through the content and format of this book, readers will begin to understand the experience of a person who can only see through his or her other senses...The content stimulates the imagination...This book also has the value of teaching all readers to appreciate difference and, indirectly, the importance of inclusion. The Black Book of Colors is fully accessible to children who are blind, and it will validate their own experiences and acknowledge them as experts in reading by touch...a very appropriate 'educational resource' in the classroom...[and] a unique and innovative reading experience. Highly Recommended." CM Magazine
"...this is an elegant and artistic project, and it's sure to elicit some contemplation and discussion from young audiences...[The Black Book of Colours] offer[s] new realms to explore for visually impaired kids left out of the fun of most picture-book pages." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"...unique...." Baltimore City Public Schools