The Color of Us (2007), written and illustrated by Karen Katz, is a great little book. It’s very simple and uncomplicated; just the way a picture book should be. The book begins with the main character, Lena, explaining that she is the color of cinnamon, and that her mom, who is an artist, is the color of French toast. She teaches her how to mix red, yellow, black, and white paints to make the right brown color picture of her.
“The right brown? But Mom, brown is brown,” she says.
“That’s not so,” Mom says. “There are lots of different shades of brown.”
“Let’s take a walk”, says her mom, “and you’ll see.” They walk to the playground where they see her friend Sonia who is a light yellow brown, just like peanut butter. Next they see Isabella, who is chocolate brown like the cupcakes they had for her birthday. Next is Lucy who has skin that peachy and tan. Jo-Jin is the color of honey. While her cousin Kyle is reddish brown like the leaves in fall. As Lena and her mom walk the neighborhood, she discovers the many colors of brown: sienna, cinammon, peanut butter, cocoa brown, butterscotch, bronze & amber, skin the color of pizza crust, ginger, and chili powder, tawny tan like coconuts and coffee toffee.
When Lena paints a picture of everyone, she sees just how beautiful all the colors are; she realizes they are the Color of Us.
The book is a beautiful introduction to any child who needs to see how people are different, yet the same. Even though I read this book to my class, I would recommend this book for someone as young as 2½ or 3 years old. All in all this book is great for any classroom, especially Kindergarten. Give it a look-see. You’ll like what you see.