#DecolonizeReading2023 Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Feathers and Rainbows, Colors and Light in 2022 Diverse Picturebooks

"Color The Sky" by David Elliott and Evan Turk | "Music Is A Rainbow" by Bryan Collier.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). It has been awhile since I joined this reading community and I intend to be more present this year, life circumstances permitting.

This year, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized
  5. Translated or international literature

Color The Sky (Amazon)

Written by David Elliott Illustrated by Evan Turk
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers (2022)
ISBN: 9780316212076 (ISBN10: 0316212075) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

Told in spare verse, this lyrical picturebook is bursting with vivid splashes of bold colors that the reader would just find delight in every page.

This child, awake to the colors of the world, feeds the birds and sings along with them, each interaction punctuated by shining yellows, browns, greens:

There is no conflict that needs to be resolved, no issue that needs tidying up – just a celebration of what it means to be joyful and free.

It is a breath of fresh air for me. More than anything, it makes me want to find my pastels and scribble on a blank page. I suspect this will make for a good read-aloud as well.

Music Is A Rainbow (Amazon)

Written and Illustrated by Brian Collier
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers (2022)
ISBN: 9780316537421 (ISBN10: 031653742X) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

This picturebook tells the story of a young boy, loved by his father and cherished by his mother. The father’s advice, I felt, is one that all readers can learn from:

Reframing brokenness as a thing of beauty, and leaving spaces for rainbow to find you is a message filled with hope – without necessarily diminishing the darkness that one needs to overcome – and for people of color, this can be overwhelming and constant, too.

The odds faced by this young boy are no more than the usual struggles and challenges faced by most young people of color: father away most of the time, a sick mother, and peers who are out to do some mischief as regular pastime. Yet, this boy finds quiet and rainbow with music and going to the cinema.

It is these rainbow-filled moments that give him pause, and provide him the space to choose differently, when he could just as easily have been swayed by rule-breaking friends who have nothing better to do with their time. This is what moved me in the story: the redemptive quality of things that make our hearts sing and our souls filled with light, enabling us to make better choices in life. Absolutely beautiful.

#6DecolonizeReading2023 Update: 31/32 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[Monday Reading] Feathers and Rainbows, Colors and Light in 2022 Diverse Picturebooks

  1. lindabaie

    Hi Myra! Thanks for these lovely books! Both are new to me and I love the books by both authors/illustrators, too. The first by Elliott looks like a delight & the second by Collier, is another one that helps see inside someone’s life, the wonderful and the challenges. Thank you! Have a great week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If I remember correctly, based on a podcast I listen to, Music is a Rainbow was a result of an abandoned project to turn a song into a picture book.

    Liked by 1 person

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