Welcome to the
Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky
By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
& Illustrated by Daniel Minter
For centuries, blue powders and dyes were some of the most sought-after materials in the world. Ancient Afghan painters ground mass quantities of sapphire rocks to use for their paints, while snails were harvested in Eurasia for the tiny amounts of blue that their bodies would release.
And then there was indigo, which was so valuable that American plantations grew it as a cash crop on the backs of African slaves. It wasn’t until 1905, when Adolf von Baeyer created a chemical blue dye, that blue could be used for anything and everything—most notably that uniform of workers everywhere, blue jeans.
With stunning illustrations by Caldecott Honor Artist Daniel Minter, this vibrant and fascinating picture book follows one color’s journey through time and across the world, as it becomes the blue we know today.
Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is the author of Powder Necklace, which Publishers Weekly called “a winning debut.” She was a 2019 Edward Albee Foundation Fellow, a 2018 Pa Gya! Literary Festival Guest Author, a 2018 Ake Arts and Book Festival Guest Author, a 2018 Hobart Festival of Women Writers Guest Author, a 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, a 2016 Hedgbrook Writer-in-Residence, a 2015 Rhode Island Writers Colony Writer-in-Residence, and in both 2015 and 2014, she was shortlisted for a Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. In April 2015, she was the opening speaker at TEDxAccra. Every month, Brew-Hammond co-leads a monthly writing fellowship at Manhattan’s Center for Faith and Work.
Daniel Minter is an American artist known for his work in the mediums of painting and assemblage. He is a visual storyteller and accomplished illustrator. Minter’s artwork reflects abiding themes of displacement and diaspora; ordinary/extraordinary blackness; spirituality in the Afro-Atlantic world; and the (re)creation of meanings of home. Minter’s paintings, carvings, block prints, and sculptures have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at galleries and museums. He is the co-founder and creative visionary of the Portland Freedom Trail, a system of granite and bronze markers that constitutes a permanent walking trail highlighting the people, places, and events associated with the anti-slavery movement in Portland. Minter’s work also marks the Malaga Island Trail which remembers the Black, European and Native American residents of the island who were forcibly removed by the state of Maine in 1912. He has illustrated over a dozen children’s books and is the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Illustration Honor and Caldecott Honor. Minter is the co-founder and creative director of Indigo Arts Alliance, the founding organization of this festival.
Can you intertwine the color blue with the histories of the color blue? Create a paper tapestry that celebrates the tones of blue Daniel Minter brings to the pages of this book and the global journey of the color that Nana Ekua Brew-Hammon helps you discover.
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