Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Black Is Brown Is Tan by Arnold Adoff, ill. Emily Arnold McCully
In honor of the recent death of children’s author Arnold Adoff, I thought it might be a good idea to consider a book that many call the first professionally published picture book to feature an interracial family published in the United States. Originally released in 1973, we look at the 2002 edition (re-illustrated by the same artist as the first time, Emily Arnold McCully). I get very excited about the fact that Adoff was not only married to Virginia Hamilton, but that he met her as a nightclub singer when he was managing Mingus. Now THAT is a how-we-met story!
The book mentioned at the top of this episode is Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk and Nicola Yoon. This is what the book and candle looked like when they arrived in the mail.
What do you want to bet that this is a regular occurrence in this household. Mom and the kids are singing one song. Dad’s in his own little world with another. Snap out of it, Dad!
I’ve got some serious house envy, looking at the family’s abode from this angle.is it just me, or isn’t it just massive?
Kate bemoans the choice of font in the re-illustrated edition. Alas, we were unable to compare it to the original version.
It’s always so interesting to compare backmatter from say, almost 20 years ago to the kind of backmatter we’re used to seeing at the end of picture books today. This is so slight but, I must say, holds up pretty well.
Sorry, folks. I was unable to find anyone on YouTube singing this book.
Let us now compare and contrast the old cover of Black is Brown is Tan to the newer one. The original gets some extra points for showing the dad carrying one of the kids on his back. The new one’s font problems don’t end with the odd interior spacing. In some editions of the newer cover, the black of the letters just sort of disappear into the trees. Gah.
Kate Recommends: Mario the Magician. Here’s the Automabot video she alluded to.
Filed under: Fuse 8 n' Kate
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
SLJ Blog Network