Brown-skinned mama, the color of chocolate milk and pumpkin pie. White-skinned daddy, not the color of milk or snow, but light with pinks and tiny tans. And their two children, the beautiful colors of both.
For an all-American family, full of joy, warmth, and love, this is the way it is for us / this is the way we are
When it was first published in 1973, black is brown is tan featured the first interracial family in children's books. Decades later, Arnold Adoff's and Emily Arnold McCully's picture book continues to offer a joyous and loving celebration of all the colors of the race, now newly embellished with bright watercolor paintings that depict a contemporary family of the twenty-first century.
And the chorus rings true as ever:
black is brown is tan
is girl is boy
is nose is face
is all the colors of the race
Arnold Adoff has written over twenty-five books of poetry for young readers, including Slow Dance Heartbreak Blues, illustrated by William Cotton; and Street Music: City Poems, illustrated by Karen Barbour, both of which are available at your local library. He is the author of Malcolm X, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez, and has also edited The Poetry of Black America. He has received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, and his trademark "shaped speech" writing style and his rhythmic poems have made him one of the most renowned children's poets of our time.
Mr. Adoff and his wife, celebrated author Virginia Hamilton, live in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Emily Arnold McCully has illustrated more than a hundred books for children, including her own First Snow and Arnold Adoff's Black Is Brown Is Tan. She won the Caldecott Medal for her book Mirette On the High Wire.