Colour of People

This poignant, wordless picturebook from Mauricio Negro takes a playful, yet thought-provoking look at ethnicity and colour.  Reminiscent of Arga Gra’s poem ‘And you call me coloured’, Colour of People reminds us that, regardless of colour or ethnicity, we all fall ill, get hungry, feel pain, and experience happiness.  The central message of the book focuses on a basic truth about the human condition: we are all different, yet we are all the same.  This message is particularly evident in the final illustrations of the book.

Although this captivating picturebook is wordless, it is far from silent and allows readers of all ages, cultural backgrounds and languages to engage with this important topic. The crossing of such boundaries is the particular power of wordless picturebooks. This would be an excellent book to use to introduce and spark stimulating conversations with young children relating to issues of ethnicity and colour.

The author’s use of full-page illustration, while repetitive, is very striking. His use of colour throughout the book speaks volumes. Indeed, it is colour and the repetition of the illustrations that serve to deliver the central message of this book.  While Colour of People draws attention to the importance of diversity, it very much examines two ethnicities only; therefore, it would be nice to see an extended version of this work, which could include other ethnicities also.