Friday, November 26, 2021

The Proudest Color - Sheila Modir, PhD & Jeff Kashou, LMFT with Monica Mikai (Illustrator)

Summary:  For me, brown is more than feeling proud.  It's the color I see when I see me.

Zahra sees the world in vivid color.  When she's happy, she feels razzle-dazzle pink in her hands.  When she's sad, she feels a deep blue behind her eyes.  But she isn't quite sure how to feel about the color of her skin.  Kids at school tell her she is different, but her mother tells her to be proud!  From a diverse team and based on extensive research, The Proudest Color is a timely, sensitive introduction to race, racism, and racial pride. 

(Summary from book flap -- Image from amazon.com - This book was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review)

My Review:  Zahra's life is filled with color in an unusual way; she's emotionally synesthetic, which means that when she feels emotions, she also feels a color specific to that emotion.  Happiness feels like a rush of pink; Anger is bright red sparks. Zahra's sad eyes fill with tears that feel blue and a case of the nerves makes her see purple.  Best of all the colors is brown. -- so beautiful and rich that Zahra sees it when she feels proud.  It's also the color she sees when she looks in a mirror, the color of her skin, which her mom reminds her 'glows and glows.'  

On Zahra's first day of school, she's both happy (pink) and nervous (purple), even more purple when she sees that she is the only child with brown skin.  Thankfully, she remembers her mom's words of encouragement and marches into class, shining with confidence (yellow).  When a classmate says something unkind about Zahra's skin, she feels so many colors -- one color she doesn't feel is brown.  At home, Zahra tells her parents about what happened and they remind her of all the people who share her brown skin and the amazing things they have done, people like Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzai, Frida Kahlo, Barack Obama, and more.  As Zahra thinks about the many people who share her beautiful skin, brown begins to feel her heart again.

Now, it might have escaped your notice, since I'm just a pair of typing fingers here, but I am white.  I am not this book's target audience but I accepted this book for review because I am passionate about helping children connect with stories that help them feel proud of their own appearance and identity.  Not only is The Proudest Color an interesting introduction to synesthesia, it is an important reminder to children with brown skin that they are beautiful exactly as they are and a reminder to the world at large that BIPOC children are entitled to their own positive racial identity and experiences.

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the Sensitive Reader:  All clear.

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