15 April 2012

"Shades of Black": A Celebration of Our Children

by Sandra L. Pinkney
photographs by Myles C. Pinkney

This is a book of photos of children in different shades of "black". It compares the different shades of skin to things in a child's world - vanilla ice cream, a chocolate bar, a licorice stick, a peach, a pretzel, popcorn, etc. It also uses items in a child's world to describe the different textures of hair a black child may have - cotton balls, lambs wool, a rope, etc. Then it uses precious stones to describe the different colors of eyes a black child may have - Tiger's-Eye, Unakite, Lapis, Onyx. The last page of the book reads,


I come from ancient Kings and Queens.
When you look at me, what do you see?

I am Black
I am proud to be me."

I very much like how different skin tones, hair, and eyes are compared to things a child can relate to. The photography is beautiful, as are the children in the photographs. The only issue a person may have with this book is the author obviously subscribes to the "one drop rule", though maybe not by that particular name. There are children of mixed racial backgrounds in this book. Some look "white", one has Jewish features. Though this does not matter to me I mention it in case it bothers a reader with a child(ren) of mixed racial background(s).

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