If you’re looking for a picture book that fuels empathy, inclusion, and kindness, add this one to your list.
A new girl at school sits alone at a bench. The only color in the image is the violet in the girl’s hair.
She was new.
She was quiet.
I think she was lonely.
That was the day I met Violet.
I was new once.
I said hello.
She smiled a little, I think.
But she was quiet.
The pair walk home along separate but parallel paths. Day after day. Until one day, the boy sees Violet pick up a red candy wrapper. From that moment on, the color red appears in the illustrations against the mostly grey and black images. The boy notices that Violet picks up all kinds of colorful wrappers. Curiosity overtakes the boy, and he asks Violet what she does with them. I love how she asks him in a very straightforward way:
“Do you really want to know?”
When his answer reassures her that he does, she invites him to her home.
And then their friendship bursts into color.
This is a quiet, but powerful book about welcoming someone new into your life and making them (and you) feel less alone.
The illustrations, at first only in black and white, except for that telltale violet, and then exploding with color, are lovely, and emphasize how friendship can make your world a more vibrant place.
Pair this book with The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson.
Make a collage out of colorful CLEAN wrappers, scraps of paper, and other found objects.
If you had to move somewhere else, what you would miss about your home? Write a poem about it. Include specific people, places, and things, and describe how they make you feel.
TITLE: The Color Collector
AUTHOR: Nicholas Solis
ILLUSTRATOR: Renia Metallinou
PUBLISHER: Sleeping Bear Press, 2021
THEMES: friendship, empathy, kindness
AGES: K – 3rd grade
For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.