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“My daddy’s brown is an autumn leaf, or like a field of wheat.” –Brown: The Many Shades of Love  

Brown: The Many Shades of Love

by Nancy Johnson James & Constance Moore 
Picture Book


At A Glance
Interest Level

3 - 5
Entertainment
Score
Reading Level
2.3
Number of Pages
32

The narrator, an unnamed boy, describes the varied skin tones of his immediate and extended family. The boy starts with his mama whose brown “is chocolate. It’s clear, dark, and sweet.” The book ends with the boy explaining that, “I love to paint our shades of skin, and give each one a name. I love my family.”

Each page has two short lines. The lines describe a family member’s skin. For example, “Sister’s brown like polished pine—fragrant, tall and strong.” The boy describes eleven members of his family and uses nature and food to describe each person’s skin tone. Even though each person is a different shade of brown, the boy acknowledges, “We’re different and the same.”

The picture book’s illustrations look similar to watercolors. One side of the page is shaded brown, like the person’s skin. The illustrations are celebrating the unique skin color of each person. For example, “Uncle’s brown like coffee beans, a dark and fragrant blend.”

Brown: The Many Shades of Love uses child-friendly language to show how each person in a family looks different, but they all share one thing—love. Even though Brown: The Many Shades of Love is a picture book, the story is intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for a child to read it for the first time independently. The poem uses easy vocabulary and each page has two lines of text. Readers who enjoy Brown: The Many Shades of Love, should also read Love by Matt De La Peña which also shows the importance of a family’s love.

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

  • None

 Drugs and Alcohol

  • None

Language

  • None

Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

  • None
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“My daddy’s brown is an autumn leaf, or like a field of wheat.” –Brown: The Many Shades of Love  

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