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4.7 out of 5 stars22
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 11 June 2013
This is one of three books I bought to support a visually impaired child that I work with. It's one of the few books that I've found on Amazon that have a brailled translation and textured pictures, and I read it with my 1:1 child and a few friends for the first time today.

Some of the pictures are very nicely translated, like the water, grass, rain and hair. These feel interesting and like what they're depicting. However, other pictures are just... pictures. Like the flowers are just flowers. The kite is a kite. It sounds a bit mad to criticise this as an issue, but drawings for children with visual impairments need to be drawn in a certain way. The flower petals over lap and are drawn at angles, which by touching makes it not feel like a flower. Same with the kite and strawberries. There are so many things overlapping it becomes very confusing for those that are solely experiencing the book with their fingers. Also, all the drawings are done by simply raising the lines. There is no variation in texture or medium.

The descriptions are quite unusual though and not necessarily what I'd go for; blue for the sun's rays and sharp mustard for yellow. Some are clearly linked to the colour of the descriptor but others are quite different. On the one hand, kudos for breaking the mould and looking at the writing in a new way, but on the other hand for children who have never had the experience of colour it would make sense to keep the links between colour and taste/texture/smell, like the red for strawberries or green for cut grass.

Finally, I've seen it mentioned before but the braille isn't very suitable for reading. The dots are printed onto the page with the same stuff they used to raise the line drawings as opposed to being printed onto the page. This means the dots are too light to read even with the most sensitive fingers. However, it's nice for sighted children to be able to feel the page too and see what the braille is like without risking expensive braille books or precious work being scrubbed to death by curious fingers.

One thing I'd like to point out to anyone buying the book for a professional environment is that the author and illustrator are neither blind nor have any life experience with blindness. What they have conceived is a lovely concept which seems to be quite rare (there is very little available in the main stream for children with VI) but it certainly isn't as accessible or detailed as books like Heart of Stone.

Otherwise, it's a great concept book with a lot of talking points, whether or not you have a child with VI in your home or work life.
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Winner of the Key Stage 1 Fiction Award in the English Association's 2011 English 4-11 Best Children's Illustrated Books Awards

Not everyone sees the world the same way. For Thomas, who is visually impaired, colour is something more powerful than for most. For him, colour is something you can hear and smell and touch and taste. This incredible book uses raised line drawings and Braille letters to help sighted readers to understand how Thomas sees the world. The pages in this book are black, but the intricate designs in shiny raised black on the matt pages, along with the most visual of written descriptions ensures that this book is a riot of colour, told through the power of language and illustration.
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on 23 January 2011
This is such an unusual book. It describes how colours are perceived by a blind child, and every page has lovely tactile illustrations. All the text is in white print on black pages, and in Braille, which is a great idea BUT sadly the Braille is not raised enough to be accessible to a blind reader. I have asked some Braille-reading children I work with and they were not able to read the Braille. It is too flat. This is such a shame, as the concept of the book deserves to be enjoyed by sighted and non-sighted readers.
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on 24 March 2011
What a wonderful idea for a book, and such an exciting concept. The presentation of each page and the raised imagery is beautiful, although I was dissappointed to read another reviewer write that the braille is not raised enough to read. A few spreads are not as great as they could be - the one with the kite in particular - and the writing isn't stellar, I couldn't possibly say how entertaining a child would find it either. There are many other books that use texture and touch to enhance a story, and The Black Book of Colours reminds us that books are tactile things and perhaps we should take advantage of this more often. While I would argue that this is not a revolutionary book - especially after reading that blind children have difficulty with it - it is certainly very interesting and a great addition to an illustrator's library.
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on 27 September 2010
This lovely book has a handy Braille guide and is written both in Braille and "normally." It is all black with white print and spot UV printing for the Braille and images/textures. I bought it as both a poet and person who works in education. With Lines like "yellow tastes like mustard, but is as soft as a baby chick's feathers," is a wonderful way to look at simile. I stumbled upon this at the Tate and will probably be buying more of these as gifts in the coming years. A real gem.
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on 12 October 2015
Good purchase and delivery. Book is all black with braille and raised areas. Great for the colour topic with my complex special needs class as it is all about sensory experiences. You can use your imagination and add more. A very different way to 'see' colour. Also good for light and dark work. We all have to experience what only seeing blacknesss is and how light helps you see the colours.
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on 9 March 2011
This book is such a beautiful picture book in that it makes you see, hear, feel and taste the world in a new way. Sensitive in many ways, this book should be in all schools and libraries around the world. So far I have had two copies and have given both away. Some books are like that. They just demand to be gifts.
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on 14 January 2011
a book you read by touching. why didn't someone think of this earlier/why haven't i come across such products earlier?? beautiful book, tender in its innocence. it's a book for the adults too.
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on 12 October 2014
Absolutely unique idea.... A beautiful book which makes sighted children (and adults!) more aware of how visually impaired children might perceive their surroundings.
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on 14 January 2014
Fascinating book -so clever! Not sure the Braille is raised enough for young Braille readers. Recommended for sharing between visually impaired and sighted children.
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