A tightly woven celebration of Black — identity, history, culture, struggle, activism — this child-narrated “Black is” poem is both accessible and complex. The extensive back matter includes a song list, background for many of the poem’s line references, a timeline of Black ethnonyms, and the full text of poems by Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar, offering context to lines such as “Black are the birds in cages that sing—.”
Ekua Holmes’ gorgeous illustrations add rich layers to the text; for example, the lines “Black are the stones bearing witness to prayer. / Black is the faith in a freedom not seen” are accompanied by beautiful stained glass mosaics of Mamie Till-Mobley, Ella Baker, Marian Wright Edelman, and Fannie Lou Hamer.
Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy
Published by Roaring Brook Press on January 14, 2020
Genres: African American
Reading Level: Grade K, Grades 1-2
Review Source: Rethinking Schools
Publisher's Synopsis: A child reflects on the meaning of being Black in this moving and powerful anthem about a people, a culture, a history, and a legacy that lives on.
Red is a rainbow color. Green sits next to blue. Yellow, orange, violet, indigo, They are rainbow colors, too, but my color is black . . .And there’s no BLACK in rainbows.
From the wheels of a bicycle to the robe on Thurgood Marshall's back, Black surrounds our lives. It is a color to simply describe some of our favorite things, but it also evokes a deeper sentiment about the incredible people who helped change the world and a community that continues to grow and thrive.
Stunningly illustrated by Caldecott Honoree and Coretta Scott King Award winner Ekua Holmes, Black Is a Rainbow Color is a sweeping celebration told through debut author Angela Joy’s rhythmically captivating and unforgettable words.
An ALSC Notable Children's Book 2021. An NCTE 2021 Notable Poetry Book. A 2021 Notable Social Studies Trade Book of the NCSS/CBCA New York Public Library Best Book of 2020. A Washington Post Best Book of 2020. A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year. A 2020 Jane Addams Children's Book Award Honoree.