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Book Suggestion: The Colors of Us


Book Suggestion: The Colors of Us

Debra Jacobs

The Colors of Us, by Karen Katz, offers a beautiful lead-in to a discussion with your preschooler about race.

Available at your local library, bookstores, through Amazon, or at other online sellers (, this book makes a terrific addition to any child’s, or preschool’s, collection.

Research makes clear that conversations about race provide a key building block in helping children develop anti-bias attitudes (see Make Race Explicit). The Colors of Us gives parents and teachers an opportune and gorgeous way to initiate just such a conversation.

The story makes race explicit in a sweet, engaging, and beautiful way. It follows a young girl whose mother is teaching her how to mix paint colors to make the right brown for her skin. “But Mom, brown is brown,” she says. The mom replies that there are lots of shades of brown. Mom and daughter then take a walk where they name the color of each of the child’s friends:

Jo-Jin is the color of honey …

Carlos is a light cocoa brown …

Mr. Pellegrino … is the color of pizza crust, a golden brown.

Read The Color of Us with your child and talk about the people you know and what color they are. If you live in an area with limited diversity, talk about the colors of people you know in books and television shows as well as those you know personally.