PPBF/ black is brown is tan

HI Friends!

It’s Perfect Picture Book Perfect Friday! And Boy do I have a book for you!

Book Cover for black is brown is tan

Book Cover for black is brown is tan

Title: black is brown is tan

Author and illustrator: Arnold Adoff/ Emily Arnold McCully

Publisher info: Harpers Collins Publishers 1973; renewed 2001

Themes: Interracial, African-American, multicultural, family values,

Age appropriate for: Kindergarten through second grade

Resources: Scholastic has a site for teacher about this book here:

And you can get a teacher’s guide from Harper Collins here:

First Three Sentences: black is brown is tan is girl is boy is nose is face is all the colors of the race

From the Jacket: Brown-skinned mama, the color of chocolate milk and pumpkin pie. White-skinned daddy, not the color of milk or snow, but light with pinks and tiny tans. And their two children, the beautiful colors of both. For an all-American family, full of joy, warmth and love.

This is the way it is for us

This is the way we are

When it was first published in 1973, Black is brown is tan featured the first interracial family in children’s books. Decades later, Arnold Adoff and Emily Arnold McCully continue to offer a joyous and loving celebration of all the colors of the race, now newly embellished with bright watercolor paintings that depict a contemporary family of the twenty-first century. And the chorus rings true as ever: Black is brown is tan is girl is boy is nose is face is all the colors of the race.

Why I love it: Like the intro says, it is an all-American family of the twenty-first century. The illustrations are from Emily Arnold McCully’s home in upper New York State and are bright and super friendly, making this poem text simply awesome to read aloud. Just the rhythms of the poem song makes one want to put it to music and sing it while turning the pages. For an interracial family this is a gem not to miss. And for any family trying to understand race this is a book that will meet all their expectations.

Black Is Brown Is Tan is a story poem about being, a beautiful true song about a family delighting in each other and in the good things of the earth.”

For my writer friends here is my gift to you:

For my first Friday in February here are the links


My Facebook and blogger friend, Marcie Atkins, has started a teachers mentor site and here are her You Tube videos of helps, or mentoring, for teachers and writers like you!!

Onomatopoeia Video on YouTube

Onomatopoeia Video on TeacherTube

Onomatopoeia Resource book (like a thesaurus for onomatopoeia)

Onomatopoeia Mentor Text Lesson Plans

Marcie says:

Click here to download a character chart. You can use this when students are trying to create characters. It helps them think of ways to create depth in their characters. Of course, it’s just a starting point, and kids will always think of many more ideas than I give here, but it is a good way to differentiate for writers that need a little bit of support. Even the kids who don’t need the support can use it as a springboard for thinking about their characters.

You can sign up for more at www.marcieatkins.com.  Happy writing! And happy learning!

And here’s what Vivian Kirkfield says on her blog:  http://viviankirkfield.com/2014/01/31/ppbf-hoot-and-holler-a-story-about-friendship/

“Today is Friday – I have a children’s book review to add to the Perfect Picture Book resource list that author Susanna Leonard Hill is building on her blog. For more wonderful reviews from authors, educators and others who contributed today, please go here. ”

And here’s what I say:

Hugs and kisses!

See  you on Tuesday the other day I blog. 

© 2014 Clara Bowman-Jahn aka Clarike Bowman-Jahn



About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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24 Responses to PPBF/ black is brown is tan

  1. A great book with a lovely message. Love the catchy chorus. Thanks for sharing, Clar. And thanks also for those great video links.


  2. And here’s what I say, “Your blog ROCKS, Clar!”
    Thanks for the link to my post…for the AWESOME links to Marcie’s mentoring program…for a FABULOUS Perfect Picture Book Friday review…for being the AMAZING person that you are!!!! Have a super weekend…if you get a chance, come on over to my PPBF post today and leave a comment…there is a giveaway of the book I am reviewing.:)


  3. Joanna says:

    Love evergreen books like this which endure. Great chorus and I love the title.


  4. Wendy says:

    The Cheerios ad campaign has got nothing on the picture book world! I wasn’t familiar with this book and have added it to my list of HAVE TO HAVES.


    • clarbojahn says:

      I’m not familiar with what ads WordPress puts on my blog post, Wendy. IF they chose cheerios then I’m sorry but if you are referring to Cheerios first author picture book campaign then, Go, Read, Enjoy.

      See you around, 🙂


  5. I think it’s great that this is the first interracial family shown in a children’s book, I imagine there may have been some controversy, but it certainly has stood the test of time. Great videos.


  6. This one I need for my Princesses! I love the Rhythm of the story and the illustrations look great! Thanks for sharing this one!


  7. Margot Finke says:

    This book is perfect for children of today. The cover, the rhyme, the message and the lyrical feel – PERFECT!! I have add it to my Book Reviews (Kids to YA) on Pinterest


  8. When you consider that we all came from Adam and Eve in the beginning, we are truly of the same race! Very likely, one parent would have been light, and the other, darker, so people of all colors in between would have been born. We are one family! Thanks for sharing this one, Clarike.


  9. Darlene says:

    A wonderful book. Thanks for the great review.


  10. Great pick! There are a lot of families like this where I live (and I think all over). I am glad they are shown in PBs. This sounds like a great book that should be in our school library. 🙂


  11. Reading your thoughts about the book gives me a glimpse of your world and how you hope it to be. Love it! I truly admire most families today. It shows a society that is more open minded and sees beyond color, race, culture. A society that sees inner goodness, of embracing love and living a life outside the box years ago we were expected to simply follow. Great post.


    • clarbojahn says:

      oh wow, Traveler!

      I bet that was one of the themes of that book. I loved reading it and hope everyone gets out of it what you did and that just from the review! You are wonderful.

      Thank you! 🙂


  12. Love the concept. Have one grandchild Anglo, one African American, one Anglo-Cuban-Italian, one African American-Cuban-Italian and one Haitian-Cuban-Italian. Thanks visit my blog.


    • clarbojahn says:

      That is quite the mix, Carl. Is this an all American family or are some in Italy, Haiti or Cuba?

      The book is about an All American family, You could brag honestly huh? 🙂


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