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The Girl Who Heard Colors Hardcover – September 26, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A little girl with synesthesia engages the world with all five senses, plus. . . . The exploration of her unusual perception charms. . . . A brief author’s note gives a little bit more information about synesthesia, grounding it in the experiences of children Harris has encountered on school visits. An engaging look at a fascinating difference in perception, for younger readers.” — Kirkus Reviews

”Harris’s story is addressed both to the small population of children who hear colors and smell words, and to the friends, schoolmates, and teachers who may be puzzled by these experiences. She describes Jillian’s mixture of visual and aural sensations simply. . . . Brantley-Newton provides lively, stylish spreads.” — Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Marie Harris (marieharris.com) is the author of G Is for Granite: A New Hampshire Alphabet and Primary Numbers: A New Hampshire Number Book, as well as four books of poetry. She lives in the woods of Barrington, New Hampshire, where she likes to walk and identify birds and go swimming in the Isinglass River.
 
Vanessa Brantley-Newton (oohlaladesignstudio.blogspot.com) has illustrated several picture books, including One Love by Bob Marley and Let Freedom Sing (which she also wrote). When Vanessa isn’t illustrating a book, she is crafting and cooking and singing! She also hears color. When she says “hello,” she sees the rainbow, and when children giggle, she sees bright orange and pink! She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books; First Edition edition (September 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399256431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399256431
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Randy-Lynne Wach on December 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
“The wind in the pine trees blew soft gray. The rain sang light purple.”

Ever since my oldest daughter was a baby, my family has joked that “music tastes green.” She had a toy keyboard and always seemed to chew on the green key, which would then light up and play a tune. Since then, I've been intrigued by synesthesia—a combining of senses, where a phrase such as “music tastes green” might describe reality.

In The Girl Who Heard Colors, Jillian is a young girl who loves to explore the world around her. She’s just like any other child, except that she sees colors when she hears sounds. As in Kevin Henkes’ Chrysanthemum, Jillian loves this special part of herself…until other kids at school make fun of her. Then nothing can console her until she discovers someone wonderful (in this case a visiting musician) who shares the same trait.

I doubted whether a picture book could explain such an unusual concept as synesthesia to preschoolers, but this book does it. Young readers explore the five senses they share with Jillian, and discover an uncommon extra sense as swirls of color display the sounds as Jillian sees them. This delightful book has danced its way onto the shortlist of my favorite picture books of all time.

Randy-Lynne Wach
Review for Sacramento Book Review
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joseph G. Murray on December 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An engaging explanation-story for little kids of the much misunderstood and not uncommon synesthesia, most often taking the form of the ability to perceive color when a sound is heard---different sound, different color. The illustrator, herself a synesthete, supports the tale with beautiful illustrations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By This Kid Reviews Books on May 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
When Jillian hears a sound she sees colors. Jillian has a condition called “synesthesia.” It is a condition where one sense will trigger another. Jillian doesn’t realize that the other kids don’t hear colors too. When she tells her teacher that a lunch box that toppled to the floor with a crash was “yellow,” the other kids hear what she said and start laughing at her. Jillian is confused but soon her music teacher figures out that she has synesthesia (because he does too) and what it means to “see colors.” Soon Jillian learn to appreciate her extra sense!

What I thought- I never heard of synesthesia before I saw this book reviewed on another site. I actually think it sounds pretty cool to be able to see colors with sound. The book helped me understand what a kid who has the condition sees. I like that the book points out – “Many famous artists have been synesthetes, including Tori Amos, Duke Ellington, Jimi Hendrix, Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, John Mayer, Mozart, and Degas.” There is also a small section in the back of the book that tells about Ms. Harris’ experience with meeting kids with synesthesia. The illustrations by Ms. Brantley-Newton are terrific. I love how she shows the sounds in her illustrations. I think books like this, ones that show all people are different in all kinds of different ways, are very important.
*NOTE I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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Format: Hardcover
Marie Harris is a local NH author. She donated this book to our PTO so that we could use it at our Reading Under the Stars event. At the end of the event, we were able to donate all of the books from local authors to our town library, which is also the library utilized for the school. It was a wonderful teaching opportunity as the students were able to read books from people that are from our state and it helped them to realize their potential later in life. We greatly appreciation her generosity!
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