I Am Brown written by Ashok Banker, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat
I Am Brown
Written by Ashok Banker
Illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat
Published by Lantana Publishing
Purchased from Barnes & Noble
I Am Brown is "a joyful celebration of the skin you're in." Banker's poetic text begins, "I am brown. I am beautiful. I am perfect," and continues on, presenting an expansively diverse global persepctive. Prabhat's effusive, warm illustrations are filled with smiling, curious, enthusiastic faces, all beautifully brown. Bringing Banker's words to life, Prabhat's pages are filled with children wearing a range of clothing that represents their culture and their interests, from a shirt and a lungee, a kurta and a dhoti, a blouse and a saree and even a business suit and a prom dress. A page with children gathered around a globe shows readers where the kids come from (every continent, minus Antarctica) and give a sample of the many languages they speak (from Chinese, German, English and Hindi to Telugu, Arabic, Russian, Tamil and beyond). Pages show the children dressed to represent various occupations, participating in the many activities they enjoy, eating a wide range of delicious foods and praying at different houses of worship. There are even children who pray, "everywhere" and "nowhere."
Banker and Prabhat close out I Am Brown with children declaring, "I made this car," "I run this company," "I designed that computer," "I won this prize," and, "I wrote this book." The final pages read, "I am brown. I am amazing. I am YOU!"
Almost as exciting as the many ways that I Am Brown is groundbreaking is Lantana Publishing, a relatively new publisher in the United Kingdom dedicated to, "publishing inclusive books that celebrate our differences." Their books (28 so far!) are a beautiful collection award-winning, multicultural picture books where, "children of all backgrounds get to go on adventures, discover the world, meet fantastic creatures, make friends and become the heroes and heroines of their own stories." I'm especially excited to get my hands on their newest book I'll Believe You When . . . Unbelievable Idioms from Around the World. In addition to a commitment to diversity, Lantana is also committed to minimizing their carbon footprint by using non-petroleum based inks and Stewardship Council certified paper AND, through their A Book for a Book program, donating one book for every book sold to the Read for Good charity.