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BROWN IS BEAUTIFUL by Supriya Kelkar


by Supriya Kelkar ; illustrated by Noor Sofi

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-374-38952-9
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Brown is everywhere.

Holding a camera and on the lookout for all things brown, a brown-skinned child goes on a hike with their grandparents while their parents prepare for the arrival of a new sibling. As the text points out, brown can be found everywhere in nature, from the ants that carry heavy loads to the “mother bear protecting her young” to “a wrinkled maple leaf.” Attributing strengths such as wisdom and kindness to the color, the child finds their own identity in it and hopes to pass those traits on to their newly born sibling. The story closes with a page from the child’s scrapbook, featuring photos, leaves, and other objects commemorating the day. Though, as this story makes clear, brown is beautiful—a fact underscored by a slew of books celebrating the skin tones of children of color—the rhymes feel cumbersome and sometimes disjointed, and the text may not stay with children. Still, there’s a warmth to the illustrations, which feature luminous shades of brown spilling across the pages, and the message is sound, using the natural world to convey the beauty of brown. The appended scrapbooking activity is a wonderful way to start conversations about the colors of the natural world. In an author’s note, Kelkar, who is Indian America, discusses growing to embrace her brown skin. (The book was reviewed digitally.)

Though the story likely won’t linger, this brilliant tapestry of browns may spark discussions about identity and nature.

(Picture book. 3-6)