cover image Brown: The Many Shades of Love

Brown: The Many Shades of Love

Nancy Johnson James, illus. by Constance Moore. Cameron Kids, $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-944903-98-5

In easy-to-read rhymes, this #OwnVoices debut shares a palette of browns that a child sees in his relatives. Describing the varied skin tones of his immediate and extended family, the narrator speaks in an appreciative, age-appropriate tone (“My mama’s brown is chocolate./ It’s clear, dark, and sweet.// My daddy’s brown is an autumn leaf,/ like a field of wheat”). Each comparison is paired with a portrait done in a childlike style, seemingly rendered in kid-friendly mediums such as crayon and watercolor. Some figurative language (“fragrant”) brings in more senses, with varying effects. This book provides a view of skin tone that celebrates a multitude of hues while serving as a subtle, effective refutation of the idea that being family means looking the same. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)