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The black book of colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria, translated by Elisa Amado
Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2006

More than any other book I've come across - certainly more than any other picture book I've encountered - The black book of colors gives those of us with the ability to see an idea of how we might perceive colours if we were blind. Printed entirely on black paper, a boy named Thomas describes what colours mean to him, beginning with, "Thomas says that yellow tastes like mustard, but is as soft as a baby chick's feathers."* A Braille translation is provided above the printed white text, and the page opposite the text and the Braille is comprised of an embossed representation of how Thomas interprets the color, in this case delicate feathers. The reader is able to read the text, feel how the same words are written in Braille, and feel the raised images.

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Image from: http://erin-thefoolscapflyer.blogspot.com/2009/08/black-book-of-colors.html
This isn't just a gimmick either, as the text is spare and evocative. Some connections seem more likely than others, such as brown smelling like chocolate, and other colours are very personal to Thomas, as with black feeling like his mother's hair falling on his face when she hugs him. The black book of colors takes colours into the realm of having meaning and associated emotion, well past mere visual processing of the electromagnetic spectrum.

*Book is not paginated.
 


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