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The Black Book of Colors Hardcover – June 28, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 8—With entirely black pages and a bold white text, this is not your typical color book. Meant to be experienced with the fingers instead of the eyes, this extraordinary book allows sighted readers to experience colors the way blind people do: through the other senses. The text, in both print and Braille, presents colors through touch (yellow is "as soft as a baby chick's feathers"), taste (red "as sweet as watermelon"), smell ("green smells like grass that's just been cut"), and sound (brown "crunches…like fall leaves"). Faría's distinctive illustrations present black shapes embossed on a black background for readers to feel instead of see. One page even describes a rainbow. A guide to the Braille alphabet appears at the end of the book. Fascinating, beautifully designed, and possessing broad child appeal, this book belongs on the shelves of every school or public library committed to promoting disability awareness and accessibility. A feast for the fingers.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* How do you describe the colors of the rainbow to someone who cannot see them? This inventive picture book relates the ways Thomas experiences colors—through his senses of smell, taste, touch, and hearing. To Thomas, red is the sting of a skinned knee or the tartness of an unripe strawberry; green, the scent of freshly mown grass. What is most remarkable about this book’s captivating concept, however, is its execution. Black raised line art is set against black pages that echo Thomas’ spirited imagery and invite readers to explore what it’s like to read with their fingertips. The descriptive, sensory text, which also incorporates white type and Braille, combined with an innovative design, makes this book the perfect starting point for discussions on difference, perspective, and experiencing and describing the world in new ways, topics that are relevant to readers of all ages. Winner of the New Horizons Prize at the 2007 Bologna Children’s Book Fair and originally published in Spanish, the book concludes with a Braille alphabet. Grades K-3. --Kristen McKulski
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 5
  • Hardcover: 24 pages
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books (June 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0888998732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0888998736
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 11.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. Eisenberg on February 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My Braille reading friends tell me that they CANNOT read this book because it is not real Braille--the dots are not high enough to be readable.

Therefore, if the point is to introduce children to what reading Braille feels like, the authors/publishers are doing an actual disservice because they are not accomplishing that goal, and they are giving a false impression of what Braille is and what it feels like.

I, as a librarian at a library for the blind and disabled, am extremely disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very good book. The concept is innovative, the raised illustrations are engaging (even though they have no color), the language is beautiful.

But the Braille is absolutely unreadable. It's simply not high enough, and it's in "Grade 1" Braille - the most basic (hardest to read) form of Braille out there, with no contractions or abbreviations.

So here you have a book that purports to show you what it's like to be blind, while being completely unusable by blind children. It's kinda like having a wheelchair accessible bathroom at the bottom of a flight of stairs - the thought definitely does NOT count.

If that problem were remedied, then I'd be able to tell all my friends to buy a copy of this book. Until then - three stars. And that's ENTIRELY on potential.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Length: 6:21 Mins
I state the reasons why I bought the book and why I think the book is meant for sighted readers only. I also place the book against a strong source of light so you can see the difference between the braille in the book and other sources in which the patterns can be easily felt.
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By MonkeyDog on December 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
my mom got this for my daughter who is blind - and I have to say that this is the first book we've gotten that really speaks to experiencing the world beyond that of what we see. It's about color - but from an experience point of view rather than a visual point of view. And the illustrations, are so detailed and lovely. This is a fantastic book - all my daughter's sighted cousins were jealous!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was so excited when I found that I could order this book from Amazon, but when I received it, the book was tightly sealed in plastic. The braille has been flattened. I am very disappointed that my blind students will not be able to read this book. Books that contain braille should never be tightly shrink wrapped. I will look into sending the book back but if the replacement comes the same way it will arrive ruined also.
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The concept was fabulous and the words were perfect. I just wish that the braille/raised images were suitable for vision impaired readers. I understand that publication cost was an issue, but don't think that the experience was as authentic a tactile experience as it could have been for sighted readers.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great idea but, in my humble opinion, very poorly executed. I have been reading Braille for eighteen years, and this book is absolutely illegible. It's a great education tool for sighted children only. The idea gives them insight into alternative ways of seeing, the print allows them to read, and though the Braille and tactile graphics provide an idea of how blind people learn, they seem to be mere eye candy rather than truly functional. For a blind child, this would be an excellent way to help her/him learn her/his colors and relate to her/his sighted peers, but the Braille seems to be set onto the pages rather than embossed, and the hardness and weight of the cover, as well as the thickness of the paper, makes it difficult for the Braille to maintain its crispness. This makes the Braille extremely difficult to decode, even for an experiendced Braille-reader but especially for a new Braille-reader. I would not recommend this if your child or student is blind, only if (s)he is sighted. I also wish there were more clarification as to the purpose of this book so that blind people would not purchase it in error. What if I had wanted to read this with children interactively? They would be left to read it to me, which isn't altogether a bad thing, but if they wanted me to demonstrate my mad Braille-reading skills, I'd be in a world of trouble!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is truly a beautiful book that can be appreciated by both adults and children. I am a Prekindergarten teacher and one of our units focuses solely on books. One of the things we introduce the children to is braille. Earlier this week I gave them a brief history of Louis Braille and introduced them to Hellen Keller. I brought this book in today to share with them as well as other staff members. It has quickly become a center favourite. The embossed images and braille along with the sensory descriptions of colours allow sighted people to begin to explore the world from the point of view of someone with blindness. An all around wonderful book.
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