Reading Guide for The Black Book of Colors 

by Elisa Amado and illustrated by Rosana Faria

This book explores the world of color through the sense of smell, taste, hearing and touch. It challenges children to see with their eyes closed and provides young readers an opportunity to build their descriptive language vocabulary. This picture book invites all readers to learn to read using their fingers through raised lines and Braille.  

Before Reading

Explain that in this book, Thomas describes how colors taste, touch, feel, and sound because he cannot see.  If needed, explain to your child what blindness is. Ask, “What can you describe with your eyes closed?”

As You Read

Vocabulary Development: Encourage your child to stop when s/he gets to an unfamiliar word in the story.  See if s/he can discover its meaning by using the illustrations and the words surrounding it.

Examples of vocabulary words from The Black Book of Colors:

  1. Braille
  2. Unripe
  3. Scraped

Thomas describes each color with his eyes closed.  Tell your child, “After we read each sentence, feel the illustration and tell me all about what you feel.”  

After Reading

Ask your child the following questions after finishing to further explore their understanding of the book:

  1. How do you think Thomas is able to describe what he sees if his eyes are closed?
  2. Thomas used many descriptive words to help us create an image in our minds.  What adjectives do you remember? Let’s re-read, and list the adjectives we see.  Let’s read the list of adjectives we found while reading. With each color, also add your own adjectives.  Note: For younger children, just going back and revisiting one or two colors and emphasizing the words used to describe them will be valuable to your child.
  3. Why does Thomas like all of the colors?
  4. Which colors are your favorites? Why?

Activity

Materials Needed: Scarf or Bandana, Anything Edible!

Give your child an edible item to hold. Ask them to smell, taste, touch, and listen to the item with their eyes closed.  Or, if they’ll be okay with it, try using a bandana or scarf as a blindfold.

Discuss with your child, “Thomas describes colors by using his 5 senses. Use your 5 senses to write or draw a description of the item you are holding. Count the number of descriptive words you used.” For younger children, ask them to tell you all of the things they think of when they taste, touch, and smell this item.  Let them dictate words to you, then read them back to your child.

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