by Sili Recio, illustrated by Brianna McCarthy
“If Dominican were a color, it would be the sunset in the sky, blazing red and burning bright.
If Dominican were a color, it’d be the roar of the ocean in the deep of the night,
With the moon beaming down rays of sheer delight.”
If Dominican Were A Color, is a celebratory poem that paints the beauty of an island nation and its people in a rainbow of vivid color and rich culture. Author Sili Recio, immigrated from the Dominican Republic to New York City with a fierce need to hold fast to her Dominican identity. Her tone, word choice, and imagery convey a fierce love of what it means to be black, and brown, and spanish speaking, and caribbean.
Both the bright and luxurious illustrations and the rich and flavorful text, send clear messages of self-love, self-pride, and jubilation in celebrating one’s heritage. Poignantly stated in Recio’s author’s note, “This book is for the little boys and girls who were never nourished with the balm of truth-those who may have felt as if they did not belong because of their dark complexions or curly hair texture or the width of their noses…This book is for the little black boys and girls who have yet to step into their power and magic because society leans on its own biases to tell them they are not worthy…The island is full of color, as is the world. I celebrate it. And you. Because you’re black and I don’t want you to forget it.”
If Dominican were a color it would be the shades of orange in the sunrise’s hue, the Haitian black on my Dominican back. The deep green tints that carry the palm tree shades, the memories in your head that never fade. The neutral browns that color our lips, the cafe con leche that everyone sips.”
As educators, we constantly strive to ensure that each of our students is represented in the rich and diverse text they are surrounded by in our classrooms. If Dominican Were A Color should be read aloud, savored by students of all ages, then poured over by independent readers again and again.