The Black Book of Colors

You know it’s Picture Book Month, right? {Also known as ‘The Month Carter Higgins Would Give Anything To Be A Kids’ Librarian Again.’}

According to the calendar, the theme for November 5th is COLORS. {Surely you are saying, “But hey, genius…today is November 6th.” Well, I don’t care…cause you HAVE to see this book about colors. And I’ll just blame it on Daylight Savings Time. That works somehow in my head.}

{by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria}

I first saw this book at a kindred spirit blog, A Picture Book A Day. I was planning my Color Theory class lectures {to adults!}, and was trying to figure out how to convey the concept of color as a solely visual experience. How does green smell? Or taste? You can hear ‘wet:’ it trickles, or rushes, or drips. And you can feel it: it’s…well, wet. But color? Is it really only visual? Or is it more?


Natalia’s post was perfectly timed. I went into wild and crazy must-get-hands-on-book mode. {Pun (?) sort of intended.} The Black Book of Colors is a tactile experience, designed for the sighted person to understand the feelings of experiencing color without seeing it. Color is described on each stark black and white page from the perspective of senses separate from sight.

Brown crunches under his feet like fall leaves.

Sometimes it smells like chocolate,

and other times it stinks.

Opposite the worded page is a raised illustration, intricately portraying the color concept through touch only. Sometimes my big fat fingers had a tough time piecing together the puzzle, but each page was entirely rewarding. The texture is the image. The touch is the sight.

Braille text accompanies the the small white words, matte black pages, and shiny embossed illustrations, and an alphabet translation appears at the end.

The Black Book of Colors is extraordinarily designed, and will undoubtedly invoke a childlike sense of awe and amazement in anyone who curls up with this book. This is one to study, to treasure, and to pass around in Color Theory class when your words just won’t do.

{(And check out the post at Brain Pickings for photos that are a billion times better. I’m gonna blame it on the iPhone and my desire to read today rather than Photoshop:)}


  • Posted November 6, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    My goodness! Completely extraordinary and unique! And… I’m completely down with your “day light savings excuse.” I get it too! Very cool share for today.

  • Posted July 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I had this in my hands a few weeks ago. Like fine wine… ahem, gourmet popsicles?