The Black Book of Colors

How do you describe colors to someone who can’t see them?

Experiencing color through the lack of color is the concept of author Menena Cottin’s book, The Black Book of ColorsThis remarkable book of simple, elegant illustrations by Rosana Faria of natural objects — from strawberries to rain to bird feathers — depicts objects not through color and shading but through embossed lines, inviting the viewer to experience them tactilely rather than visually.  It gives insight into how blind people “see” colors.

In the text, colors are described as tastes or by the way they feel with references to both scents and  sounds.

Red is sour like an unripe strawberry and as sweet as a watermelon. It can hurt like a scraped knee.

Brown crunches under your feet like fall leaves. Sometimes it smells like chocolate and other times it stinks. 

Green tastes like lemon ice cream and smells like grass that’s just been cut.

Yellow tastes like mustard, but is as soft as a baby chick’s feathers. 

Black is the king….It is as soft as silk when his mother hugs him and her hair falls in his face.

The book is designed as an empathy tool that allows a sighted person to step inside the world of the blind, who experience the world through their fingers and other modalities rather than their eyes. SO beautiful.


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