Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Colors of Us

Katz, Karen (Author/Illustrator)
Macmillan 2002. 32 pages
First published: 1999
ISBN: 9780805071634 (paperback)
9780613692380 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Seven-year-old Lena wants to do a self-portrait using brown paint for her skin colour. But when she and her mother take a walk through their diverse neighbourhood, Lena discovers that brown comes in many different shades.

A celebration of the differences and similarities that connect all people, this book uses the metaphors of art (mixing colours) and food flavours (cinnamon, French toast, peanut butter and honey) to depict the beauty of all skin colours, and ultimately to teach equality, acceptance and love. The familiar developmentally appropriate language and large vibrant illustrations of people’s faces created using collage, gouache and coloured pencil make this book an interesting and accessible choice for children at many stages..

As a read-aloud book, the vocabulary is rich and evocative. The story is also a warm reminder that everyone is part of the same community, whether they are butterscotch, chocolate or ginger.

  •  

    Talk about the colour of skin. Does it change who we are inside? Look at all the skin colours in the classroom. Try to describe the colours to each other in small groups, then share with the group.

  •  

    Explore the way the writer describes skin colours. Notice how colours are described using comparisons (an introduction to metaphor).

  •  

    Have a “Compliment Day”. Write a note or tell a friend why you think he or she is unique.

  •  

    Explore the way the writer describes skin colours. Notice how colours are described using comparisons (an introduction to metaphor).

  •  

    Mix primary paint colours to create new colours. Describe the new colours in words and write what they remind you of. Post these around the classroom like in an art gallery.

  •  

    As a class, create a word web around the word “brown” and its different shades and tones. Follow the same web format to create a web for other colours such as red, blue or yellow.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Visual Arts