I Color Myself Different

Scholastic. Apr. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338789621.
K-Gr 4–In Kaepernick’s debut picture book, readers are introduced to the future NFL player as a five-year-old boy drawing a picture of his family for a school assignment. Prior to school, Colin is confident that “being one of a kind sure is amazing.” However, after his classmates challenge him as to why his loving depiction of his family includes different skin tones for Colin than his adoptive family, their ridicule causes him to feel bad. Kaepernick’s description of adoption is warm and affirming, as is his more powerful message of embracing differences. Colin not only learns that he is special like other Black historical leaders who “inspire, create,  lead, and change the world,” but he makes sure his classmates know it, too. Charming digital illustrations use a vibrant color palette, which fits the book’s themes. The text includes an author’s note about how children experience racism and empowers them to know their inherent worth. Back matter also introduces the Black icons depicted earlier in the book.
VERDICT This affirming autobiographical look at race and belonging for young readers is a recommended first purchase for public and elementary school libraries. Ideal for read-alouds and starting discussions on family, race, and identity.

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