Books in the spotlight


Discover new books


Each month CMLE will highlight three books that have some factor in common. We hope they will give you ideas for your collection, or influence an activity, lesson plan, or display. 

This month, we share three different books that focus on people’s different abilities and skills. They can be used in your library or media center to teach about the importance of diversity and creativity.

black-book-of-colorsThe Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin (Author), Rosana Faria (Illustrator), Elisa Amado (Translator)
This unique book is created with all-black pages and cover, yet is about the many colors of the world. There are braille words above the text, and the accompanying pictures are raised for texture. In this post from Kids’ Books Review explains “It is the story of a blind boy, who describes colours as he hears, smells, tastes and feels them. Each turn of the page uncovers a beautiful description of a colour; for example, “Thomas says that yellow tastes like mustard, but is as soft as a baby chick’s feathers”.

  • Take a look at this article that features The Black Book of Colors along with nine other multicultural books from The Positive Classroom
  • Enjoy this reading of the The Black Book of Colors in the video below:


thenoisypaintboxThe Noisy Paintbox by Barb Rosenstock and Mary Grandpre
Goodreads gives the book this positive review: “In this exuberant celebration of creativity, Barb Rosenstock and Mary Grandpre tell the fascinating story of Vasily Kandinsky, one of the very first painters of abstract art. Throughout his life, Kandinsky experienced colors as sounds, and sounds as colors–and bold, groundbreaking works burst forth from his noisy paint box.”

  • Here’s a review from School Library Journal’s Classroom Bookshelf that includes classroom ideas and many related links.
  • Click here for a lesson plan for the book (for first grade instruction, but has instructions to find plans for other grades) that meets Common Core standards.
  • Check out popular Twitter and blog personality John Schu’s interview with author Barb Rosenstock. The interview includes two great videos that investigate synesthesia.


fish-in-a-tree-335x512Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
The author’s website contains this summary of the novel: Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.