Collier, Bryan

Music Is a Rainbow

(2) K-3 "Son, life is full of holes. / You may want to close them up to keep / out the storm / But make sure to leave room for that / rainbow to find you. / Broken is beautiful." A loving father's morning prayer for his son exemplifies this powerful story about a young Black boy's need for connection and hope. When the boy was seven years old, as the gentle third-person narration tells us, his mother became ill and "had to go away for a while." The subsequent emotional void sends him to seek comfort and belonging with troublemaking friends. His pain is momentarily alleviated by music; when he hears piano music from the apartment next door or a movie soundtrack in the theater, he "could relax. He could shine, and he could dream." After participating in a break-in at the rec center, the boy finds a piano. As he plays it, he recalls his father's words, and, in an emotional moment, "the rainbow...found him." The muted shades of Collier's (All Because You Matter, rev. 7/20) accomplished watercolor and collage illustrations brighten as the story progresses; a final spread features a beautiful array of shades and a collage of faces, instruments, and patterns. The transformative power of music is a clear theme, but equally important is the connection between the boy's inability to express feelings of abandonment and disconnection and his destructive behavior. This visual and textual journey of self-discovery offers a poignant message about the potential of the arts to foster children's development. An appended note discusses the story's inspirations.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

This coverage is free for all visitors. Your support makes this possible.

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.