Yesterday I Had the Blues

Book review by
Marigny Dupuy, Common Sense Media
Yesterday I Had the Blues Book Poster Image
Poetic writing conjures abstract, powerful images.

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

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the young narrator matches his feelings with different colors in this poetic story.

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What's the story?

A boy describes both his own feelings and those of his family members in terms of color. Beginning with the well-known blues, he describes them as "those deep down in my shoes blues/ the go away, Mr. Sun, quit smilin' at me blues."

He goes on to describe his sense of the greens as ""The kind of/ greens make you /want to be Somebody," and his grandmother's yellows as "The hummin' that parade song,/ flower house slipper yellows," and so on, through the greys, pinks, indigos, reds, silvers, and goldens.

Is it any good?

Moody and insightful, the poetic language in this appealing book conjures abstract yet powerful images. Not only does the young boy reflect on the colors of his own feelings, he asks family members to match a color with their feelings. He shows himself to be empathetic as he listens and tries to understand what they say.

The expressive illustrations are stylized and sophisticated, yet exuberant. Created by R. Gregory Christie, two-time Coretta Scott King Award winning illustrator, they add visual poetry to the boy's thoughtful narration.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about feelings in general, both their own and those of family members. Talk about matching colors to those feelings.

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