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Monday, February 13, 2012

the colours of us - children and comparatives

Katz wrote and illustrated the story in affirmation of her adopted Guatemalan daughter and her friends, and the diversity that surrounds them. The message is heavy, but it's made palatable by the loving words and the brightly colored, lively illustrations, which are a combination of collage, gouache, and colored pencil. The pictures of Lena and her friends and city neighbors celebrate the delicious colors of the individual people, all brown, and each one different.

My name is Lena, and I am seven.  I am the color of cinnamon.  Mom says she could eat me up.
My mom's the color of French toast.  She's an artist.  Mom's teaching me how to mix colors.  She says that if I mix red, yellow, black, and white paints in the right combination, I will have the right brown for a picture of me.
"The right brown?  But Mom, brown is brown, " I say. 
"That's not so," Mom says.  "There are lots of different shades of brown.  Let's take a walk.  You'll see."

We go to the playground, where we see my friend Sonia.  "Sonia is a light yellow brown," Mom says.  "Just like creamy peanut butter," I say.  "My favorite."
Isabella is chocolate brown, like the cupcakes we had for her birthday.
Lucy has skin that's peachy and tan.
My best friend, Jo-Jin lives close to the playground.  Jo-Jin is the color of honey.
Two streets down, we meet my cousin Kyle.  His skin is a reddish brown, like leaves in fall.
...several people later...
Mom and I walk to the park to eat our lunch.  "Look at everyone's legs, Mom--all the different shades."  
...several more people later...
My friends leave and I go downstairs.  I am happy as I get out my paints:  yellow, red, black, and white.  I think about all the wonderful colors I will make, and I say their names out loud:  "Cinnamon, chocolate, and honey.  Coffey, toffee, and butterscotch."  They sound so delicious.  
At last my pictures are done, and I've painted everyone.  "Look, Mom," I say.  "The colors of us!"

REVIEW, here:
the book here

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