cover image Kente Colors

Kente Colors

Deborah Newton Chocolate, Debbi Chocolate. Walker & Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-8388-2

The traditional kente cloth of the Ashante people of Ghana stretches to become the stuff of story hour. The cloth's vivid tones (red, yellow, blue, black and gold) are explored for their symbolic values and matched with scenes from African and African American culture and daily life. A spread devoted to ""emerald kente,"" symbolizing a bountiful harvest, shows colorfully garbed characters reaping fruit. Indigo blue is the color of African skies, sheltering a lone shepherd and his flock. This latter choice may confuse some readers, however, as Chocolate (On the Day I Was Born) specifies in a preface that blue represents ""love."" Ward's (The Adventures of High John the Conqueror) high-intensity hues and kente-patterned borders suit the subject matter like a custom-made, bright silk kente robe. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)