The Black Book of Colors – Menena Cottin (illustrated by Rosana Faria, translated by Elisa Amado) – 2008, Groundwood Books
(Thomas) says that green tastes like lemon ice cream and smells like grass that’s just been cut.
Is that how you would describe a specific colour to a child who is blind? Every page in this remarkable children’s picture book is pitch black and illustrated with white text for the sighted, and Braille text and embossed drawings for the blind to touch and read. (For reference, the author has also included a Braille alphabet at the end). Attempting to convey the visual state of colour through familiar descriptions of taste, feeling, and sound cannot be easy in any way, but Menena Cottin’s carefully chosen, imagery-rich language and emphasis on relatable sensations other than sight make short work of the task. Rosana Faria’s raised drawings simply beg to be touched: my favourites were the crunchy fall leaves for “brown” and the soft baby chick’s feathers for “yellow.” I could feel every vein in the leaves, every feather quill. This is a beautiful book for all children – and their parents! – to read and appreciate.