This lovely book of poems about being yourself that is gorgeously illustrated, called The Blacker the Berry created two main thoughts for me. First, why did they pick this poem instead of another to be the title? Color Struck would seem like a stronger move. Of course, this led to my self-discussion of “Well struck is a harsh word, and the person choosing probably did not want a word that has a negative connotation as the first thing you see.” And then that led to, “But there are so many good poems, why this one?”
Second main thought was how do I write a review about a book that all you need to say about it is, “READ THE G-D BOOK!”?
Joyce Carol Thomas created a set of poems about the color of skin. Each child is a rainbow of blacks, browns, and red. Comparisons to nature, berries unique styles of colors, the mixture of cultures and more flow across the pages. Obviously poetically written, the poems are still accessible and relatable. They are aimed at people of color, but anyone can appreciate the stories that unfold. This book is about pride: in yourself, your family, and those who made you, well you. It is about family, feelings and so much more.
All of it is wrapped up beautifully with Floyd Cooper’s rich illustrations. Colors are popping, they are deep, soft, bold, light and darks all blending together in an image that tells the story as much as the text it magnifies. All ages can enjoy, but older readers/listeners would probably be a best bet.