Black is Brown is Tan

Book cover for Black is Brown is Tan by Arnold Adolf

Arnold Adoff


Emily Arnold McCully

Book Summary

Brown-skinned mama, the color of chocolate milk and pumpkin pie. White-skinned daddy, not the color of milk or snow, but light with pinks and tiny tans. And their two children, the beautiful colors of both.

For an all-American family, full of joy, warmth, and love, this is the way it is for us / this is the way we are.

When it was first published in 1973, black is brown is tan featured the first interracial family in children’s books. Decades later, Arnold Adoff’s and Emily Arnold McCully’s picture book continues to offer a joyous and loving celebration of all the colors of the race, now newly embellished with bright watercolor paintings that depict a contemporary family of the twenty-first century.

And the chorus rings true as ever:
black is brown is tan
is girl is boy
is nose is face is
all the colors of the race

Multi-generational, Black, White, Interracial, Family

Age Range
Ages 4 to 8 (grades K-3)
Harper Collins Publishers
Book Category