A series of young brown girls admire the many different browns in their environments and in their own images in this poetic celebration of self and nature.
“Deep secret brown. / Like the subtly churning river currents / playfully beckoning me / through my grandmother’s kitchen window….” A girl gazes, smiling, out the window at a scene of the natural world. On the next spread, a close-up of a bespectacled girl’s face is accompanied by the line, “Deep secret brown…like my eyes.” Another girl admires the “feathery brown” of tree shadows on a hike with her daddy and then the “feathery brown” of her eyelashes. Still another tastes the “amber brown” of honey from her aunt’s hive and admires the “amber brown” of her own hair. Each girl is featured with family members or friends, relating to nature, and on her own having fun or in a reflective moment. The text of the poem is delightfully filled with rich imagery and luscious language, complex enough to grow into but familiar enough to enjoy at any age. Juanita’s earth-toned illustrations are joyful and remarkably inclusive. The girls and their friends and family wear a variety of hairstyles; there are characters in hijabs, one with vitiligo, a child in a wheelchair, and an adult without a hand. Readers may find themselves wondering whether this is the same girl in many aspects or many—and then contemplating their own multifaceted natures.
This “celebration” makes magic out of the everyday joys of being in the world. (Picture book. 6-12)