Tuesday, August 4, 2020

I am Brown by Ashok Banker (writer) Sandhya Prabhat (illustrator)


This is a picture book containing ten double spreads of full colour pictures. The pictures illustrate the text and add to the story. 

The protagonist is possibly every brown child. 

The first picture is of an upside down face on a single page. The next page asserts that the main character is beautiful and perfect. The reader – and this is probably an adult reading accompanied by a child looking at the pictures - is taken through a series of scenarios:
·         the child dresses up as many different professionals,
·         says what those workers actually do,
·         where people who are brown actually live
·         which languages they speak,
·         what they look like,
·         which sort of homes they live in – and here the diversity is complete- every reader will recognise her own home
·         what they like to do,
·         what they like to eat
·         what they like to wear  
·         which relationships they may have to the reader
·         where they might worship _ which includes nowhere
·         what they may have achieved in life  

The text is not dense but is rich in vocabulary. The pictures are rich in detail and in very vibrant colours. 

Who should read the book? No doubt is would appeal to black readers – and interesting perhaps that the text asserts that the protagonist is brown. Yet it also a text that white readers should enjoy. It helps us all to understand that there are more similarities amongst us than differences between us.         

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