color book

How To Eat Color & Paint Who You Are, by Tilke Elkins is a lush picture book for kids of all ages about tasting color, making your own paint, and creating “color portraits” of the people you love!

Whether it makes you want to eat vegetables, liberates you to make your own art supplies, answers some of your pesky questions about the color blue, or gives you a new way of seeing yourself and the people around you, How To Eat Color & Paint Who You Are is about spreading love for the world we live in, by embracing the magic of color, inside and out.

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Jakesephina thinks in color words. She also gets hungry for colors, the colors of some of her favorite words, like gobble, or circumnavigate, or razzmatazz. When she’s hungry for color, she goes to the roof garden on top of her house, while her family is still asleep, and she assembled delicious color meals for her eyes and her mouth to eat. In the garden, she explores the color secrets of vegetables, and she puzzles over why there are so few blue foods.

She also shares some secrets of her own, like a trick for making a whole blue meal, what to do in a food color emergency, and how to make paint with things in your kitchen.

People have colors inside them too, Jakes says, colors you can see when you close your eyes and think of someone you know well. She shows you how to paint your colors, and how to give them wings, so they can fly around.

How to Eat Color & Paint Who You Are is more like a playdate with an unusual child in a lush, mysterious, color-filled world, than a how-to book. But while you’re immersed in the pleasures of color, and the secrets hidden in Jakes’s floating house, you just might learn a thing or two along the way.

Jakesephina was inspired by a character in All Round, “a radical magazine for children ages one to 100 and up,” conceived and illustrated by author Tilke Elkins between 1999 and 2005. .

A Note About Synesthesia

Jakesephina, the book’s main character, describes each letter in her name as having a specific color. When Elkins was little, she thought everyone’s letters and numbers had colors. It wasn’t until later that she found out there’s a name for the ‘condition’  she shares with both her parents: synesthesia. Synesthesia just means ‘the joining of senses.’ Science likes to make it seem as though synesthetes are rare and unusual.  But Elkins has serious doubts about this, having met LOTS of people with synesthesia. People have synesthesia in many different ways. 

Whether you “have it” or not, it’s a really good metaphor that shows the ways that impressions and sensations can connect poetically. :)

And if you feel particular kinship with Jakes because your letters do have colors too — then right on! High five.