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Black Is a Rainbow Color

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  796 ratings  ·  176 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 Marshal
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Roaring Brook Press
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Lana Mitchell In the book Angela Joy says that black is a rainbow color because she is black. She is part of the rainbow.

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Average rating 4.52  · 
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 ·  796 ratings  ·  176 reviews

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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
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.
So s
Books on Stereo
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A joyous celebration of black culture/history.
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. ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
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 wh
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Angela Joy riffs on the word "Black..."

"Black is molasses from tall sugarcane.
Black is soft-singing,
'Hush now, don't explain.'" a color...

"Black is a crayon, tangled in a box.
Black is a feather on white winter snow.
Black is the dirt where sunflowers grow.
My color is black." a culture...

"Black is the heart of a candle and flame.
Black is the power of movement in pain."

"Black are the braids in my best friend's hair.
Black are the bottoms of summertime feet." the past...

Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 gr
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 t
Aug 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-alena
I like the illustrations of this book. I also like the concept of showing that black is beautiful, like a rainbow.
The colorful illustrations in this book were gorgeous, as was Angela Joy's writing. I really appreciated ALL of the backmatter included. Looking forward especially to listening to the recommended playlist.

Appreciated receiving an ARC of this book and not having to wait until it was officially published to read it.

I support independent bookstores. You can use this link to find one near you:
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is incredible. I will admit the illustrations are not to my taste, but they are well-done and fit the book. BUT THE TEXT. The text is straight-up phenomenal. The poetic picture book text. The author's note with the explanation of Black vs. brown. The playlist. The explanations of the phrasing choices. The inclusion of the poems referenced. The timeline of Black ethnonyms in America. Perfection. Just perfection. ...more
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.
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.
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautiful message; beautiful book. The illustrations bring the text to life as a young girl shares why Black is part of the rainbow. Joy brings readers through a variety of experiences and emotions. Don't miss the important historical figures placed in the background. Information text at the end of the story shares more beyond the verses in the book. ...more
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.
Erin Varley
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Preordered immediately. Buy this. Share it widely.
The end notes are amazing. Highly recommend reading this piece along with the curated playlist!
Feb 04, 2020 added it
Shelves: diverse, 2020
I enjoyed the stained glass feel of this book. I think it was a great way to show off the black lines.
Bethany Pollock
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a powerful picture book! With vivid illustrations and powerful words!
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book

This picture book is beautiful, poignant and strong and a reminder for us all. A must read for all ages
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pbf-concepts
Illustrations have a sort of stained glass window look.
Pickle wagon Mcgee
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Let me say. This book was by far one of the best books my 3 year old picked out. Thank you for this book
Gorgeous poem in picture book form celebrating black identify and culture.
Ms. B
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture, 2020
This one reminded me The Blacker the Berry which I love and has a similar message. My favorite part of this newer book was A Timeline of Black Ethnonyms in America. ...more
Ashley Adkins
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book to read regarding the color black and all the different meanings this color can have for so many different people. The art is fun, colorful, and often detailed. A bit lengthy for a picture book but purposely so. A good read, especially if you are trying to learn about other cultures.
Erin *wcsibooks*
This is an excellent book for a lot of reasons. I like the collage style of the illustrations where there are words imprinted in some parts if you look closely. The text is rhyming on most pages and poetic. The newspaper clippings that are used as background on some of the pages are very powerful if you look closely. There are all sorts of cultural references Woven through the text which most people May not catch. I know I only caught about half of the references myself. As in many picture books ...more
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Inspired by a comment from her daughter, Joy celebrates being Black in this picture book that definitively places the color black in the rainbow of the world. In poetic verse, she looks at a myriad of lovely things in life that are black like her friend’s braids, bicycle tires, Thurman’s robes, ink on a page. The images come from children’s own lives but also are inspiring, speaking to figures in African-American history and culture. The color black and being Black mean so many different positiv ...more
Laura Giessler
Wow. I cannot express my appreciation for this book strongly enough!! In the author's note, Angela Joy describes this book as a launching point for a greater exploration of Black culture, and that is exactly what it is! The back matter is FANTASTIC in providing historical context for various lyrical lines in the book. It also highlights 3 significant poems by Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar (also alluded to in the text of the book), a playlist of songs important in Black culture, and a ...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 ,– whi
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