Title: Shades of Black
Author: Sandra L. Pinkney
Publisher, date published, genre: Scholastic Inc, 11/1/2000, PB Non-fiction - Photo Essay
Suitable for: 4 and up - grades PreK – Grade 2
Themes/Topics: Multicultural, African-American, Self-Esteem
Opening: “I am Black. I am Unique. I am the creamy white frost in vanilla ice cream and the milky smooth brown in a chocolate bar.”
Synopsis: From chocolate brown to midnight blue, from cottony puffs of hair to hair like a rope's corkscrew, these photographs show the many ways to be black and proud.
Using poetic language and stunning photographs, the Pinkneys create a remarkable affirmation of the beauty and diversity of African-American children.
Links to resources: Shades of Black Lesson Plan
Why I like this book: I really could have used this book when I taught English in Sudan. I was raised loving my self and my heritage. Being ‘black’ was never an issue growing up for me. Being black was not about the color of our skin. It represented our culture and heritage. We were African-Americans. When I went to Sudan, I took that attitude with me, that no matter what ‘shade’ you were, you were black. * Shakes Head * Big mistake! I learned right away that many Sudanese did not like being called black, because it was considered a color, a color that had negative connotations. Which brings me back to just how wonderfully written this book is and how beautifully illustrated it is with rich and diverse photographs that show positive images of African American children of every shade and hue. The author uses the most beautiful and perfectly fitted similes that match the photos of each child. This book celebrates children. It celebrates African American children. I personally think every classroom should have a copy of this book. Shades of Black invites readers of all ages and cultures to explore and embrace the diversity of the African American.