‘The Black Book of Colours’ by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria

The Black Book of Coloursstarstarstarstar
My sister has a blind granddaughter. It’s been remarkable meeting her and hearing stories from my sister about how she is learning about the world without the gift of sight. What would it be like to learn about the world relying only on the other senses? And what would a picture book for a blind child look like? This author takes the most intense visual stimulus – colour- and creates a beautiful and tactile children’s picture book which invites readers to see colours with their fingers.

In this experience of colour, the pages are all black, but with beautifully illustrated raised glossy images and simple sensuous text. Each page has a description of the colour in print and in braille.*  The descriptions call on feelings, smells and tastes in addition to the images on the page to be read with the reader’s fingers. Here is an example of the script:
“Red is sour like unripe strawberries and as sweet as watermelon. It hurts when he finds it on his scraped knee.”
This book would also be a good experience for a sighted child, to think about what it would be like to be blind or as a discussion starter about communication.

*Note: What I have learned from some reviewers of this book who have tested it on blind children, is that the Braille was printed too flat to be readable. That is disappointing, but perhaps can be corrected in future editions.

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