Teaching children that there is more than one way of looking or thinking about something is extremely important as they proceed in their educational careers as well as their lives. White is for Blueberry, written by George Shannon and illustrated by Laura Dronzek, is a charming children’s book that uses simple comparisons and vivid images to convey a much more significant and more complex message. Shannon explains it best with one of the last lines in the book, “It all depends on when we look…how near or far…”. In this case, “it” could mean our perceptions of people, nature, society…it is all up to the reader to determine. The book consists of several objects that are associated with a color that most would not agree with. Then, on the next page Shannon gives an explanation for why, during some time or at some place, that particular object could be accurately associated with that color. For example, in the book, a picture of a blueberry is described as being white. At this point, your child or student would be turning around in your lap with his or her nose scrunched up in confusion. “A blueberry isn’t white,” they would explain, with the classic assurance of a 3 to 5-year old. Then you would turn the page to reveal that yes, a blueberry is white…
“when the berry is still too young to pick.” And this quote is associated with a picture of a white blueberry. This is just one of the many ways Shannon manages to redirect and reshape children’s thinking about the world around them. The surprising color and object combinations Shannon provides will keep your child or student flipping pages before you even finish reading.
This book would be an excellent choice for one-on-one reading with young children because it could prompt discussion between you and the child and it could give you a tool with which to teach and demonstrate a valuable lesson and skill: learning to think for oneself. Books such as White is for Blueberry that have underlying messages in charming tales and comparisons are essential to teaching children how to think for themselves, form their own opinions, and actively use their imaginations.
-By Sedrissia Veal