A New Look at Inclusion

One of my biggest passions is how much books work as windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors. I’m in the midst of working on a final paper for a LIS class (Library and Information Science) about the importance of multicultural literature. Having books where kids learn about making sure that everyone is included is a way to nurture that part of their growth. I get a lot of emails asking if I want to review various books, but when I heard about This Book is Gray, I knew that I had to read it.

This book takes colors and gives them personality and the story starts the moment you open the book with a rainbow of colors and a glossary of color terms. In everything, Gray is left out. Gray wants to participate, but as Red says, “There’s no GRAY in the rainbow.”

So Gray goes and creates his own story that is only various shades of gray. Of course the other colors have to have their say and intrude upon his story. They complain how his story looks dismal, gloomy, and depressing.

As the book continues, the colors become more and more involved. The comical thing, from a parent’s perspective, is that the colors enter the story as primary and secondary colors. Even Black and White, the achromatic colors, try to tell Gray that he isn’t a color. It isn’t until Gray has a complete meltdown and spells out just how he feels that everyone else starts to understand.

Of course, being a children’s picture book, all of the other colors then realize the mistakes in the way that they were acting and commit to changing their ways. While that is not necessarily a realistic way for problems to be solved, it is a great lesson for kids about how it might feel to be left out and how important it is to not leave people out just because they don’t look exactly like you.

Lindsay Ward is the creator of the Dexter T. Rexter series as well as Brobarians, Rosco vs. the Baby, and The Importance of Being 3. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Lindsay lives in Peninsula, Ohio, with her family. Gray is one of her favorite colors. Learn more about her online at www.lindsaymward.com and Twitter: @lindsaymward

“This book is a fun introduction to color theory that may inspire children to use more gray in their artwork and remind them to include friends who are left out.” —Booklist

The publisher has offered one lucky winner a copy of this book that comes out on December 1st. It is a great one to add to your library!

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