SHADES OF BLACK by Sandra L. Pinkney
Kirkus Star


A Celebration of Our Children
by , photographed by
Age Range: 3 - 7
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Pinkney thoughtfully addresses some sensitive issues in her first book, illustrated with color photographs of children, taken by her husband. (Their own three children are included among the models.) In a simple, patterned text full of rich vocabulary, Pinkney describes the different skin tones, hair textures, and eye colors of the African-American children shown in the photographs, with each child holding the object discussed in the text on that page. Skin colors are described with food metaphors (“the milky smooth brown in a chocolate bar”); hair textures are compared to items with texture (“the stiff ringlets in lambs wool”); and eye colors are related to polished stones (“the shimmering glow of ebony in an onyx”). This metaphoric structure succeeds both poetically and educationally, providing a subtle lesson in racial awareness and tolerance that will be welcomed by both parents and teachers. Our society has come a long way since Black Is Brown Is Tan (Arnold Adoff, 1973) shook up the staid world of children’s books, and this new collaboration by still more members of the talented Pinkney family forges ahead in a similar way with a calmly accepting view of all African-American children, whatever their skin or eye color, as equal members of the black community. This bold, beautifully photographed book should be a first choice for most libraries and will be especially popular during Black History Month. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-439-14892-8
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2000


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