Black Is a Rainbow Color

Book review by
Barbara Saunders, Common Sense Media
Black Is a Rainbow Color Book Poster Image
Smart verse and bright art assert the sanctity of Blackness.

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Educational Value

Supplementary back matter gives educators, parents, and caregivers historical information to share with children.

Positive Messages

You belong in this world. You have a place and are loved.

Positive Role Models

Black children and adults, including historical figures, are depicted engaging in a variety of positive activities from bike rides to peaceful protests.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Black Is a Rainbow Color, a picture book written by Angela Joy and illustrated by Ekua Holmes (Coretta Scott King Award winner for The Stuff of Stars), brings together affirming verse and brightly colored illustration to celebrate Black people, community, history, and culture. Black children and adults, including historical figures, are depicted engaging in a variety of positive activities, from bike rides to peaceful protests. Supplementary back matter gives educators and parents historical information to share with children.

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What's the story?

When BLACK IS A RAINBOW COLOR begins, a young girl broods on her stoop at the idea that black, the color word she knows labels her, is absent from the rainbow. So she narrates a meditation in verse on what "Black is ... ." She affirms the beauty in herself, and the diversity in the community, culture and history of Black people, and concludes that Black contains a rainbow all its own.

Is it any good?

Warm illustrations and smart verse make this picture book appealing for children who need to be read to as well as those who can read on their own. Author Angela Joy wrote Black Is a Rainbow Color to address an observation by her daughter that they are literally brown, not black. Joy repeats the word "Black" in every line, claiming it with affection and pride. There's a heavy hint of spirituality in illustrator Euka Holmes's motifs of stained glass and soaring birds.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about all the ways people can identify themselves. Black Is a Color of the Rainbow explores what it is to be Black. What are some different ways you describe yourself?

  • What's your favorite illustration in Black Is a Rainbow Color?

  • What does the author mean when she writes "black is a rainbow, too"?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and stories of Black history

Themes & Topics

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