Posted in book reviews, teachers' resources, what we're reading

What we’re reading: The Black Book of Colours

The Black Book of Colours By Menena Cottin. Illustrations by Rosana Faría (translated by Elisa Amado)

This book is about colours, but every page in the book is black! That’s because it shows us how Thomas—who is blind—describes colours. He ‘sees’ colours with his other senses. Yellow ‘tastes like mustard, but is as soft as a baby chick’s feathers’. Red ‘hurts when he finds it on his scraped knee.’ Brown ‘crunches under his feet like autumn leaves.’ Green ‘smells like grass that’s just been cut.’

On the left hand pages the text is in Braille at the top, and printed in white at the bottom for those of us who can’t read Braille. On the right hand pages there are embossed illustrations you can feel. There is a Braille alphabet at the back of the book, too.

I loved feeling all the illustrations and the words in this book. And I read it to my son (he’s 6) while he had his eyes closed, running his fingers over the pages. It’s hard to imagine how someone who is blind experiences the world, but he says this book really helped him to imagine a little bit what it would be like.

The Black Book of Colours is now a favourite at our house, and we’ve already read it many times. It’s a different way to read a book – we think it’s wonderful!

The Black Book of Colours by Menena Cottin. Illustrations by Rosana Faría. Translated by Elisa Amado. Walker Books, UK. 978-1-4063-2218-7. This book was selected for review from the Editor’s own collection.


This post was added by Rebecca Newman. Rebecca is a children's writer and poet, and the editor of the Australian children's literary blog, Alphabet Soup. For more about Rebecca visit:

2 thoughts on “What we’re reading: The Black Book of Colours

    1. Hi Katrina,
      You’re welcome! It’s tricky to describe the illustrations. It’s definitely worth finding a copy and feeling your way through it!

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