Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy: An Amazing Book For Children

Red is a rainbow color.

Green sits next to blue.

Yellow, orange, violet, indigo,

They are rainbow colors, too, but

My color is black . . .

And there’s no BLACK in rainbows.

  • Angela Joy

The color black outlines our lives–from the wheels on a bicycle to the robe on Thurgood Marshall’s back. Without the color black, there would be no definition, no boundaries from one object to the next.  Black is also the color of night, of shadow, of ink and ash.  Also, when used to refer to a person, or people, “Black” people also refers to the uniquely African American culture and heritage.

“Black Is a Rainbow Color” is a dazzling story by debut author Angela Joy. It is strikingly illustrated by Ekua Holmes, a Caldecott Honoree and Coretta Scott King Award winner. Holmes’ illustrations use powerful lines and solid colors with subtle touches of collage detail, creating an effect reminiscent of stained glass. This adds an almost spiritual element to the celebration of blackness.For those trying to uplift and empower youth, this book is a treasure chest of optimism, resilience, and pride.

Lessons We Can Get From The Book Black Is a Rainbow Color

It teaches children about acceptance and self-affirmation.

This book dwells in the past injustice to a community and its underlying trauma. It is a lively and touching picture book of culture and art and a people’s beauty and courage.

Black may not be in the rainbow, but it is a rainbow of shades, experiences, and life.

Angela Joy brings the reader on a journey to learn about how the black color may not be in the rainbow we always talk about (ROYGBIV), but it is a color in our lives. The dirt is black. In the snow, a feather is black. The tires on the bike are black. 

The author also tackles Thurgood Marshall’s history of Blackness to the “power of pain movement,” which is about making the world safe and palatable for children of all ethnicities.

The book focuses on black beauty and strength

With all the negativity in our world, this book brings unity to all of us – regardless of our color. It emphasizes the importance of loving yourself and presents beautiful, loving, and strong Black individuals. Black children can now draw pride from their black identity, and their classmates can also consider their own identities. A positive idea about yourself is a wonderful place to begin understanding your unique identity.

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More About The Author:

Angela Joy was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Before graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota, she attended New York University and Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia―where her heart will forever reside. Angela traveled abroad extensively as a background vocalist, also working in television and movie soundtracks. She currently lives in southern California with her husband and two children, writing from a small hallway desk where the walls are painted a royal shade of purple. Black Is A Rainbow Color is her first book.

Ekua Holmes is a native of Roxbury, MA and a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She is the recipient of the 2013 NAACP Image Award, a Brother Thomas Fellowship, and a 5-year appointment to the Boston Art Commission. Her picture book illustrations include the Caldecott Honor book Voice of Freedom and the Coretta Scott King Award winners Out of Wonder and The Stuff of Stars. Holmes serves as Assistant Director of MassArt’s Center for Art and Community Partnerships, and manages sparc! the ArtMobile, the institution’s vehicle for community outreach.


“Joy’s words and Holmes’s art are a perfect pairing where the verse is as vivid as the paints and collage. Children (and parents) of all colors will be rereading this one plenty.” ―Washington Post, “Best Books of 2020”

“Both a beautiful celebration of black culture and an excellent first black history book for young children.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A treasure trove of positivity, strength, and pride for anyone seeking to uplift and educate young people.” ―Horn Book, starred review

“A beautifully told and illustrated celebration of African American people and ethnology, Black Is a Rainbow Color thoughtfully explores what the Black experience means to a child . . . A must-have for children’s collections.” ―Booklist, starred review

“With Black Is a Rainbow Color, debut author Angela Joy pens a loving tribute to all the ways black is beautiful. Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winner Ekua Holmes’s brilliant collage illustrations elevate the text’s themes of resilience and strength.” ―Shelf Awareness

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