Newly acquired: The Black Book of Colours

4 06 2010

The Black Book of Colours (cover)The Black Book of Colours By Menena Cottin. Illustrations by Rosana Faría. Translated by Elisa Amado. Walker Books, UK. 978-1-4063-2218-7

I had heard this book mentioned somewhere (I can’t remember where) and it was on the list of books I wanted to read. So I was very pleased when I found it on a shelf at a local bookshop.

It’s about colours, but every page in the book is black. We learn about how Thomas—who is blind—describes colours. He ‘sees’ colours with his other senses. Yellow ‘tastes like mustard, but is as soft as a baby chick’s feathers’. Red ‘hurts when he finds it on his scraped knee.’ Brown ‘crunches under his feet like autumn leaves.’ Green ‘smells like grass that’s just been cut.’

On the left hand pages the text is in Braille at the top, and printed in white at the bottom. On the right hand pages have embossed illustrations you can run feel with your fingers. There is a Braille alphabet at the back of the book, too.

When I got home, I read it to my 6 year old. He ran his fingers over every page, gently and slowly. I read it to him a second time, and he listened with his eyes closed as he felt the illustrations again. Then he had lots of questions about being blind, and how a boy who is blind would read stories. He was fascinated by the Braille and talked about how difficult it was to feel the differences between the groups of bumps and wondered whether it would be harder to learn to read Braille than to learn to read text.

It’s hard for a boy with sight to understand how someone without sight experiences the world. And this book helped him to imagine how it might be. (And I was enthralled, too.)

The Black Book of Colours is now a favourite at our house. I highly recommend it!

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3 responses

4 06 2010
thegracefuldoe

Wow, what a fantastic book! I will have to look out for that one. What a great way to help children understand what it is like for someone who is blind.

5 06 2010
boobook

It IS a fantastic book! It’s also great for calming the kids down after rushing about. There’s something quiet and gentle about running your fingers over the page with your eyes closed. 🙂

5 06 2010
Tweets that mention Newly acquired: The Black Book of Colours « Boobook -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Fred's Head Feeds, Rebecca Newman. Rebecca Newman said: What I've been reading with my 6 year old: http://wp.me/pj3dS-1J […]

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