Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin, Illustrated by Rosana Faria, Translated by Elisa Amado
Posted by bookscoops on November 28, 2009
Holly: The Black Book of Colors is amazing. I just keep thinking about how amazing it is. Combining English and Braille, does that qualify as bi-lingual? I’m not sure of the right term to use.
Cari: I loved how the author attempted to describe colors without being able to see, I loved it! The words are delicious.
Holly: Hmmm, I would venture to say that yellow tastes like lemon, not mustard, but it could taste like mustard, or lemon or banana. Which I guess are all delicious in their proper setting.
Cari: I really liked that it made you think differently and appreciate maybe what the world is like for someone who can’t see. I thought the author did an excellent job, and I want it in Spanish since it was orginally written in Spanish.
Holly: Really? It was done in Spanish first?
Cari; Yep, some of the other reviews said that the braille isn’t what a blind person really would read, it needs to be more raised. But it makes you think how important tactile books are for children who are blind because that is how they see the world.
Holly: I had my kids read the book with their eyes closed. (Of course, mine were open, so I could read). They wanted to peek so they could see, their favorite was the rain pouring down – they thought that felt like rain.
Cari: We should clarify that all of the pictures are black, they are not in color, The text is grey.
Holly: The most controversial ‘picture’ for us was the one that was hair and my littlest one adamantly insisted that doesn’t feel like mommy’s hair.
Cari: I loved that part, I thought it felt like hair.
Holly: I thought it felt like hair too, or at least how hair would ‘feel’ like illustrated on paper.
Cari: I wonder what things felt like for Great Grandma B when she went blind?
Holly: She must have been able to tell quite a bit by the limited colors she could see and what she could feel . . .
Cari: . . .because we each got a quilt made especially for us as her great grandchildren.
Holly: Yep. I still have mine. . . but I won’t rub that little fact in or anything.
Cari: Go right ahead. It’s not like we’ve never brought up this subject before.
And now . . . for a trip down memory lane:
One of our favorite shows to watch growing up was Little House on the Prairie. We loved it so much that we actually played Little House on frequent occasions. A monumental day was when Mary Ingalls was actually declared blind. That changed everything. How would we pretend to be Mary if she couldn’t see? Shortly after this episode, we were hanging out with some friends when we decided to play Little House. Cari got to be the fun-loving rambunctious Laura while Holly (enraptured with the beautiful Melissa Sue Anderson) was thrilled to play Mary.
Cari: You can be Mary, Holly, but it has to be Mary before she was blind, you can’t pretend you can’t see, we all know you can see.
Holly: Oh yeah? I can be blind like Mary, I’ll just keep my eyes closed!
Cari: I’ll make a bet with you. If you can keep your eyes closed the whole time, I’ll let you . . .
Cari: Um, I’m not sure. I guess I’ll let you be in charge next time.
Holly: Okay! Hey guys, do you want to come over to our house? We could all put on pioneer dresses and play Little House on the Prairie
Cari: Yeah, let’s go. I’ll race you there on my bike.
Friend #1: How are we gonna get there if Holly has to have her eyes closed?
Friend #2: Yeah, you can’t ride a bike with your eyes closed!
Holly: You wanna bet? I betcha I can ride my bike all the way to my house without peaking. Not even once.
Cari: All right! The last one there’s the rotten egg!
Holly: That’s not fair! I didn’t say I’d get there fast! Wait for me!!!
Friend # 1: Woah, Cari, look! I think Holly really has her eyes closed.
Friend # 2: Are you really closing your eyes?
Holly: Don’t my eyes look closed? I promise I”m not peeking. (okay, so honesty didn’t always work in my favor when it came to bets with Cari) Keep talking so I can follow your voices.
Cari: Woah! I think she’s really doing it! She must have learned how to tell where she’s going from that one pillowcase game we play. I didn’t know she’d gotten so good.
Holly: See, I told you I could do it. Now, I get to be in charge! Laura, you’re the younger sister so you have to do what I say. Now, go take care of Carrie!
Cari: No, Mary. I’m too busy playing with my friends right now. We’re going to go fishing by the creek! Too bad you’re blind Mary, or maybe you could come with us. See you later!
Holly: Hey! Wait! I’ll be the Mary before she goes blind! I wanna go fishing too. Wait up!