Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Colors of Us

I thought you might enjoy a peek at a book my second grade class wrote and illustrated after studying the Civil Rights Movement. Our book was inspired by The Colors of Us by Karen Katz. I'm so pleased with the way it turned out. Even more, I am pleased with the lessons the class learned through this project.

The Colors of Us by Mrs. Lawson's Class

When we learned about Martin Luther King, Jr., we learned that people used to be separated by the color of their skin. We were called "blacks and whites" back then. We know that's silly. Just look at us. We have peachy skin, light yellowish skin, spotty skin, pink skin, chocolate brown skin, barely tanned skin, and very tanned skin. We are all sorts of colors.

Back then, people with brown skin couldn't go to school with people with peach skin. If you had skin the color of marshmallows, you couldn't be friends with people who had skin the color of chocolate. How silly! Just think how good chocolate and marshmallows taste together.

Things are better now. Just look at us. We are one delicious class.

I'm the color of Jello brand vanilla pudding.

I'm the color of cream cheese on a Ritz cracker.

I'm the color of white gravy that tastes so good on biscuits.

I'm the color of a pina colada smoothie.

I'm the color of McDonald's fries with no ketchup.

I'm the color of melting strawberry ice cream.

I'm the color of chocolate chip cookie dough.

I'm the color of a fresh, fuzzy peach.

I'm a little lighter than a Hershey Bar.

I'm the color of warm, buttery potato skins.

I'm the color of hard butterscotch candies.

I'm the color of a big bowl of mashed potatoes.

I'm the color of my Mom's French toast.

I'm the color of hot coco with marshmallows melted in it.

I'm the color of my favorite fried rice.

I'm the color of the whipped cream on top of a sundae.

I'm the color of pancakes with syrup and peanut butter.

What color are you?

All art and words are original works created in the regular classroom by the citizens of Lawsonland, January 2009. This book was written as a response to our studies about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. Further reading:
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
The Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson
Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges


julochka said...

so glad you shared all their pictures...they're even better than the words! all those little heart-shaped lips are precious and the nose on "warm, buttery potato skins" is awesome!

My Castle in Spain said...

oh my...this is so touching and sweet Relyn ! each one of those is so precious..love the "hot coco with marshmallows melted in it"!

this is such a wonderful idea..
thank you for sharing it !!

Wendy said...

I love this SO MUCH! How adorable. No wonder you are so proud of it! Have you thought about getting these printed in a real book that parents could purchase? There are a lot of sites on the web that you can do that. I see ads for it all the time. This would be a wonderful kids book!

Lubna said...

Delicious. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This brightened my ENTIRE Day!! Your students and awesome and you are a phenomenal teacher!

Christina said...

This is so warm and loving. I am feeling a beautiful pep in my step after reading this.

PS: I am the color of an orange dipped in caramel. ; )

Love you, my friend.

spread your wings said...

there is nothing that makes me smile bigger, and warms my heart more, than looking at children's art work -absolutely nothing. thank you SO much for sharing this with us - it has brighten my morning already. Everything about it is fantastic!!
you must have this printed into a book.

Derrick said...

Hello Relyn,

Your class are certainly a talented bunch! My own attempt at drawing pales into insignificance, as you'll see if you pop over to my place!

It is good that little children see things in this way. We can only hope that they retain it throughout life.

T.Allen-Mercado said...

Children's artwork is probably the only thing I love more than all of the delicious foods they cited in their works! What a great project and a lifelong lesson learned.

Jaime said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I wish you could have been my teacher!
This warms the heart and makes the soul giggle.

So much love to you

ELK said...

art by children is just pure gold ~ it makes me so happy! You must be a wonderful teacher (which I always knew) but these images confirm you are Queen!

thank you so much for sharing this here ...I will return to look again and again...
I guess I am the color of a white cupcake with peach frosting...

Shannon said...

What a wonderful, beautiful book. You are teaching your kids so much more than history. You are teaching them love. And, you know, all we need is love!

This is especially meaningful for me because my kids are biracial. I often wonder when the questions start coming, how I'm going to talk to them about 'the colors of us.' This is a perfect way.

Jennie said...


Those are AWESOME! Makes me want to teach 2nd grade. Looks like you are fitting in nicely...are you surprised?

Love you!

Jessica said...

This is the sweetest, most wonderful book. I'm thinking it would be oodles of fun to print out somehow and share with my students!!!! You are such a talented and warm teacher!

Patti said...

What a sweet project Relyn! It turned out amazing...the descriptions and pictures are just delicious! Nicely done~


smith kaich jones said...

Oh, I really have no words. It is just, as Patti said, delicious! You are a wonderful teacher, and your students must surely have the best-ever time in your class. I needed this smile today. Thank you!

:) Debi

beth said...

I want these all framed and filling a wall in my house !!!

Jeanne said...

I love all you share.
I am the colour pink.
Love you

dutchbaby said...

Every parent in you class will treasure this project. I hope each and every one of them gets a frame and a place of honor in their home. Did you teach them all to mix the paints? How big are this pictures? They look like the form a beautiful paper quilt.

veronica said...

this made me cry tears of joy and wonder! thank you so, so much for sharing this. one of my favorite memories of last year was getting to see nikki giovanni perform a few of her pieces, including "rosa".

A Cuban In London said...

Sorry, did you say they were Year 2 students? They are maginificent pictures for a seven year old? Many thanks for sharing this precious gift with us.

Greetings from London.

Anonymous said...

oh wow, this is so so wonderful! it makes me happy. what a fun question.
hm... i'm the color of tea with milk.
and thank you for such sweet comments!

Jan said...

This is such a wonderful post! Are you familiar with the book, "Am I A Color Too?" It is an amazing childrens' book authored by a dear friend of mine, Nancy Vogl. It has won many awards. You might want to check it out!

And please e-mail me, you lucky girl, because you are the winner of the Feb. Book Giveaway at my blog. Cool huh? Jan@awakenedliving.com. I need a snail mail address to send you your goodies. :-)


Lori said...

This so made me smile. I love the creativity of all people, but children especially, they are so open to express themselves fully.

SE'LAH... said...

Relyn, thanks for sharing this. The weird thing for my particular family unit is that my hubby and I grew up in the Caribbean, in an "integrated" society that was predominantly Black. I was never raised being reminded constantly that I was Black...it just wasn't an issue for me. My daughter has ALWAYS referred to herself as "brown" and she IS brown so I don't "correct" her. She knows who she is and my more important goal is to teach her to connect with the spirit of individuals, rather than make judgement based on skin colour.

didn't mean to write a novel. I could go on and on with this subject.

Love the project!

Cait O'Connor said...

Just fantastic, this would make a great book to have in all schools. You can be proud.

Oldies, but Goodies