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Black Is a Rainbow Color
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Black Is a Rainbow Color

4.62  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  46 reviews
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
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Roaring Brook Press
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Average rating 4.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  154 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Books on Stereo
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A joyous celebration of black culture/history.
Lorie Barber
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Looks like I’ll have to start my Caldecott 2021 list already!!
This book is stunning in both lyrical text and illustrations. The back matter is second to none, including poems by Langston Hughes & Paul Lawrence Dunbar, explanations to references throughout the text, and a timeline of “what to call” Black people throughout American history, starting in 1619.
This book is a celebration, a tool for informed understanding, and a confirmation of history. I cannot wait to share it with my students.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Incredible book with the most impressive back matter I've ever seen -- a playlist, "Timeline of Black Ethnonyms in America," all of the references in the story are fleshed out (for instance, you can read "Harlem" by Langston Hughes and "We Wear the Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar). Just amazing.
Mary Lee
This is a beautiful book. (Love the art of Ekua Holmes!) It also has amazing back matter: an informative author's note, a playlist of songs, an explanation of all the allusions (including 3 poems that are referenced, and "A Timeline of Black Ethnonyms in America." Ethnonyms. A new term to me, but powerful information about names a people have been called and have called themselves.
Marti M
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Macmillan Kids for a gifted advanced copy!

My friend, Amber, got this book and shared about it with me and I knew I immediately had to get my hands on my own copy.

Let me start by saying the illustrations in this book are absolutely gorgeous. But the book itself is so, so beautiful as well. One of my favorite parts is in the back of the book where it talks about what to call black people and how that has changed over the years from negro, to African American, and to simply Black. And
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poc-reads
There are so many stunning details delivered by the book's illustrations. It masters that tricky balance between being sweet and charming but also completely Important and Educational. The back matter - lists of songs, poems, as well as general guidance for teaching Black history - makes this the perfect book to give to any parent who wishes to address race with their child.

It's not just about teaching kids acceptance and self-affirming difference. It's as necessary to learn the history of a
Katie Reilley
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found my first book for my Caldecott 2021 list!

Beautiful text and stunning illustrations. Extensive back matter, including poetry, an author’s note, a musical playlist, and explanations about historical events that support the text.

Publishes 1/14/20. Will be my first purchase of 2020. Preorder now.
Christina Carter
For about four summers in a row, our family hosted a little boy through The Fresh Air Fund who would travel from NYC to spend some time with us in Buffalo. We built some of our most lasting memories during that time. Visiting museums, hanging out at the town pool, going to the library and amusement parks. He and my daughter were the best of friends. I enjoyed getting to know his family and I was thrilled when they were able to come out to spend Thanksgiving with us one year. I just knew that his ...more
Sharon Lawler
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As the author states in her Author's Note, she was taken aback by her preschool daughter remarking “But Mama, we're not black, we're brown.” The child did not realize that Black is not just a color, but a culture. This glorious title weaves together beautiful connotations from music, art, literature, and history to make Black a source of joy and pride. Excellent back matter, and illustrations by Ekua Holmes are akin to a religious experience.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book for kids for any month of the year - but it really is a great way to start teaching young ones about Black History Month. The resources in the back part of the book are fascinating. The songs, poems, and historical notes really elevate this book as a teaching tool. And the artwork and lyrical style of sentences make it an amazing book to read aloud.
Bethany Pollock
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a powerful picture book! With vivid illustrations and powerful words!
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A glorious book and celebration of Black culture and history.
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A poetic, short, but complex picture book. The mixed-media illustrations reminiscent of stained glass add interest and context. Excellent back matter to help continue the conversation. Highly recommended for ages 4-8.
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved this book! The illustrations are beautiful, and the text is lyrical and beautiful. I also really enjoyed the back matter, which included three poems and the evolution of what Black Americans have been called. This would make for a great read-aloud for 5-8 y/o.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolute must have for every kid's, but especially every African American kid's, shelf!
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lovely, lovely, lovely...
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book belongs in every educators library. Through minimal words and expressive pictures you are taken along a journey. Please spend a moment and read the author's note at the back.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Perfect for Black History Month, a diversity-themed storytime, or for any library collection at all. An awesome appendix at the end of the story includes work from famous black poets, singers, writers, leaders, and more to help deepen the impact of the story. A+++
Michele Knott
This is a book that will stick with me for a long time and one that takes multiple readings to unpack. It reminds me a lot of Fry Bread in that way. You can't just get everything about this book in one reading.
First of all, there is so much in the backmatter to pay attention to - you'll want to play the music that is listed in the background, you'll flip back and forth from the backmatter to the corresponding pages to learn more and get greater depth of understanding.
I'm really looking forward
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There was a lot here—culturally, artfully—and it was lovingly done. A great picture book to have on hand for any Black family or family with Black children.
The end notes are amazing. Highly recommend reading this piece along with the curated playlist!
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A powerful poem beautifully illustrated by Ekua Holmes. The book starts out by saying "there's no BLACK in rainbows," but goes on to show all of the things that BLACK is. "Black is a color. Black is a culture," and concludes that "Black is a rainbow, too." At the back of the book is an author's note, a "Black is a Rainbow Color Playlist," and more information about references in the book. It even includes a few poems in the back matter. Something I have not seen before is a timeline of Black ...more
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I appreciated how thorough this author was in explaining every reference in the book.
Ana Gutierrez
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautifully written and beautifully illustrated book. It's got wonderful historical information in the back as well.
Erin Varley
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Preordered immediately. Buy this. Share it widely.
Baby Bookworm
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: our-reviews
Hello, friends! Our book today is Black Is A Rainbow Color, written by Angela Joy and illustrated by Ekua Holmes, a phenomenal celebration of black beauty and culture.

As a little girl ponders a rainbow, she laments that black, “her color”, is not one of the traditional rainbow colors. However, she continues, black is multitudinous in and of itself. It can be as simple as the dirt from which sunflowers grow, or rubber bike tires, or the braids of her best friend’s hair. Or it can be the shoes of
I've often used Red, Where Did You Get That Red? by Kenneth Koch and other similar color-themed poetry books to teach my students how to write poetry and notice details in the world around them. I'll add this one to my resources because it highlights the often-maligned color, black, in so many admiring ways and the textual tribute to black is complemented by eye-pleasing illustrations, many of them with black edges and a stained glass effect. A girl sitting on a front porch stoop ponders why her ...more
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you’re looking for a picture book to highlight Blackness and its complexity, then “Black is a Rainbow Color” fits the bill. Angela Joy writes the book in uncomplicated, yet gut-punching and heartwarming verse.

Joy conveys to readers how Blackness hubs history, music, politics, literature, legacy and everyday life.

She writes:

“Black is a rhythm.”
“Black is the blues.”
“Black is side-walking in spit-shined shoes.”

The author uses numerous references, explained at the end of the book ,– which include
Audrey's Picture Books
This is a beautifully written book. It reads like a rap or spoken word poetry. I question, though, whether it's really on the same wavelength as its intended audience. It strikes me as one of those picture books that's written for 1st-3rd graders, but is cognitively more on the level of a 5th or 6th grader. It makes a lot of cultural references that young children aren't going to catch. Moreover, it's very abstract in places. Most elementary children are firmly in the concrete operational stage ...more
Carol Brusegar
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Black is a Rainbow Color is a delightful overview of Black culture and history through the eyes of a child. The lyrical text takes the listener and reader on an exciting journey of discovery while the bright, multilayered illustrations add depth and dimension to the words.

This is much more than a picture book – the author provides extensive resources for parents, caregivers and teachers. Included are background on numerous phrases and references within the
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