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Thursday Three: Color Me Brown

Posted by Pam on August 27, 2009 at 11:20 AM in Picture BooksRecommendations
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This month Color Online asked book bloggers to read and review books featuring people of color. The Color Me Brown Challenge has pulled together more than eighty reviews so far, and hopes in this last week to reach one hundred titles. Well, here are three more:

Minji’s Salon
by Eun-hee Choung

Minji's SalonThis book comes to Kane/Miller publishing from South Korea, but it could just as easily be set in any of the bustling Korean neighborhoods in America. While her mother is getting her hair colored and styled, Minji follows suit with her own customer — a black dog — and in her own way. The child’s desire to do grown-up things is universal, and is captured well in this simply worded picture book. The illustrations are engaging, especially when capturing the expressions of Minji and her mom. Enjoyable, lovely book.

The Secret Oliva Told Me
by N. Joy, illustrations by Nancy Devard

The Secret Oliva Told MeOlivia tells her friend a secret, and the friend lets the secret slip out. From there the secret passes along and gets bigger and bigger. In the end, the friend has to tell Olivia the truth and apologize, because it was the right thing to do. The story is good, though I could have done without the rhyming couplets. The cover is gripping with its black silhouettes with white accents against the red brick wall. The silhouette style continues throughout the book with the addition of a red balloon that gets bigger and bigger throughout —representing the secret that is also growing. The end of the book includes a section to discuss the story —including what secrets kids shouldn't keep. The artwork is simply wonderful, especially in capturing a diverse group of children only in silhouette.

Mama’s Saris
by Pooja Makhijani, illustrated by Elena Gomez

Mama's SarisAs a little girl turns seven, she watches her mother unpack saris to wear to her birthday party. While helping her mother choose just the right one for the special day, she pleads to wear a sari herself. Knowing that young girls like her aren’t old enough for the lovely garments, she reflects on their beauty. But sometimes birthday girls get special treats, and in this case it is getting to dress up like mama. A sweet book universal in a daughter’s desire to be like her mother —whether it's walking in her high heels or wearing her bindi. Reference is made to the mother’s every day working clothes, implying the that the story takes place outside of India. A helpful glossary makes the Hindi words accessible to all readers, while beautiful illustrations bring magic to the story.

For more choices, take a look at this list of 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Read put together by the Cooperative Children's Book Center.


Steven (Book Dads) writes...

These look wonderful and thanks for pointing out the Color Me Brown Challenge, I hadn't heard about it and will have to go take a look.

Abby writes...

Awesome, Pam. Thanks for featuring multicultural books! I'm definitely looking to develop a diverse collection at my new library (when we finally have book money, that is) and these'll be helpful.

Doret writes...

Read- The Secret Olivia Told Me, while at the library, really enjoyed it. I loved how the race of the characters didn't factor into the story

Thanks for sharing these wonderful titles.

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