This is a beautiful book, whose poetry explores all of the variations and richness of being black. The first page opens with the dazzling line, “Colors, without black couldn’t sparkle quite so bright”. A sweet and welcoming introduction for what is to come. All of the rest of the poems continue to embellish and reaffirm how wonderful and so loved these colors are. The Blacker the Berry was written by Joyce Carol Thomas. The illustrations by Floyd Cooper brilliantly bring these poems to life.
Here is a taste of the sweetness.
My skin is red
And my hair is red
“He’s redder than a cranberry,” they said
when I was born.
Why am I red?
Maybe it’s because I like cranberry sauce
With holiday dinners
Expecting me, Mama ate it every day
Maybe it’s my Irish ancestors
Who reddened the Africa in my face
I don’t’ know
My father’s side of the family
Has hair as crinkly and red as mine
When we measure who we are
We don’t leave anybody out
We count who we are
And add all who came before us
The way we figure it
We’re just great
Thomas, Joyce Carol and Cooper, Floyd. 2008. The Blacker the Berry. New York: HarperCollins.