Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Black Book of Colours: What an enterprising book!

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

This book, The Black Book of Colors is a book that left me astonished.

The author, Menena Cottin and illustrator, Rosana Faria have produced a stunning book. The reason: the pages of the book are entirely black, the illustrations are (embossed) raised so the reader feels the illustrations instead of seeing them. Well, the reader does see them but not with their eyes, instead with their sense of touch. There is white text by which the sighted can tell the story, but atop each page is another astonishing delight: Braille. This is a book intended for children who are blind but it is also intended to give sighted children an experience into a world they may never have considered: the world of the blind. A bridge between two worlds...

This is a book that sparks awareness, builds compassion, and has empathy producing illustrations and text. A book I certainly will look forward to having a personal copy of insha'Allaah. I love the concept and I love the consideration for children whose world is, in a way, composed of one colour: black.

My mind raced as I considered what this could do for Muslim children who are blind. Imagine, your child/student can experience a book not only by one path of learning (i.e. hearing) but by touch as well. This is a book I would use in my classroom ( I am not a special education teacher so my classrooms do not have children whose special needs extend beyond ADHD or ADD). Some students are tactile learners, and this book speaks to the way that they learn best: by touching. Tactile learners are usually very adept at remembering things that their fingers have had a chance to manipulate or touch. I wonder how this story would impact a child who was not visually impaired but whose learning style was primarily tactile.

At present, I cannot visualize how I could read this book aloud to a class because the tactile experience of the book would be lost. I couldn't have an entire class trying to touch each page *smile*. But still, perhaps if I read to a struggling reader, one-on-one, and invited him/her to close his/her eyes and 'feel' the story as I read it aloud?

I think I will try reading the book that way myself insha'Allaah. No words, no sound, no sight...just touch...just touch... 

Allaah says in the Quran,

 "قُلْ هُوَ الَّذِي أَنشَأَكُمْ وَجَعَلَ لَكُمُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَالْأَفْئِدَةَ ۖ قَلِيلًا مَّا "
 { سورة الملك: آية 23}

Say it is He Who has created you, and endowed you with hearing (ears) and seeing (eyes), and hearts. Little thanks you give. {al-Mulk: ayah 23}

He, subhana wa ta'ala, also says,

 "وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَذَهَبَ بِسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَارِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ"
{سورة البقرة}

And if Allaah willed, He could have taken away their hearing and their sight. Certainly, Allaah has power over all things. {al-Baqarah: ayah 20}


Muslims children's picture books written in this same format? I hope that one day, this will be a reality insha'Allaah. Seerah, Stories of the Prophets, of the Sahaba, of the Great Scholars of Braille, with raised illustrations (no people of course)...imagine....imagine...

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