Shades of People

Posted by on Jan 12, 2012 in Body Smart, Color Knowledge, Early Learning, Holiday, Science | 0 comments

Peach, coffee, cocoa, copper, tan, ivory, rose, almond. So many Shades of People in this gorgeous book by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly! I can think of no better book to read to little ones in celebration of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I’ve tried reading his biography in the past to kindergartners, only to have it go over many heads. This year, I’ll share Dr. King’s message of peace and acceptance with Rotner and Kelly’s spot-on writing and exquisite photographs, followed up with a fun art activity.

“Have you noticed that people come in many different shades? Not colors, exactly, but shades.” Rotner and Kelly open the door to discuss skin colors in the most lovely of ways, with photographs of smiling children. Children with golden skin, with freckles, with lusciously dark skin, with rosy pink cheeks. “Our skin is just our covering, like wrapping paper. And, you can’t tell what someone is like from the color of their skin.”

So before you read this book, wrap it up in paper so the cover can’t be seen. Hold it up for your kids to guess what the book is about. Can’t tell what’s inside just by looking at the wrapping? Just like a present! And, just like a person! Read Shades of People with your kids and talk about the descriptive adjectives. How would you describe your skin? I’m sort of peachy-ivory – how about you? After you’ve read and enjoyed the book, get out the paint and let kids paint pictures of themselves. Let them experiment with mixing colors to match their skin tones. Even if you only have the basic primaries, it’s a good science and art experiment to add a bit of red and yellow and even blue to white and black and brown. Celebrate all the colors in your classroom!

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