Brown

Book review by
Diondra K. Brown, Common Sense Media
Brown Book Poster Image
Beautiful depiction of a family's colorful shades of love.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Brown celebrates the beauty of different skin tones. The ambiguity of the characters' race allows for representation of different nationalities and backgrounds. 

Positive Messages

The main character's family members are a variety of brown shades. While their difference is noted, their connectedness as a family is admired. As the author writes, "we're different and the same." The book shows that families come in all colors, but it doesn't change their love for one another. 

Positive Role Models

Brown offers a positive representation of love within families, particularly those of color. The depiction of the various family members' love for one another, despite the fact that they look different, models positive behavior. 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Brown offers a poetic celebration for the many shades of the color and its loving nature. The book was created by two women of color. Author and poet Nancy Johnson James spotlights the love held between members of a diverse family, whose beautiful skin tones are brought to life by illustrator Constance Moore. The story emphasizes the distinctive qualities of each family member, as characterized by their special shade in the brown rainbow, truly honoring and idealizing what it means to be a brown family. 

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What's the story?

The color BROWN, and all of its unique shades, are praised in this love letter to the main character's family. A brown-eyed boy, the color of gingerbread, affectionately labels each of his family member's skin shades with creative names. Each hue of brown, from cinnamon, to chocolate, to copper, is celebrated for it's perfection. The boy explores how his family may look different but are connected by their sincere love for one another. 

Is it any good?

In this perfectly illustrated ode to a family's love and interconnectedness, diversity is acknowledged in a special way. Brown gives children of color the opportunity see a reflection of themselves and their family members on the pages. The author includes several similes that facilitate creative thinking and categorization skills for young readers. The watercolor and crayon drawings bring a sense of familiarity and warmth to the pages. The beautiful nature of the color brown is equated to "many shades of love." 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the characteristics of the folks in Brown. What makes them different from and the same as members of their family? 

  • What color would you call your skin's hue? Could you name the color after a food, something in nature, or a toy? 

  • Draw or paint portraits of you and your family members. Pay special attention to all of their unique features. 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love self-esteem books and tales of Black and Brown kids

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