The Girl Who Heard Colors by Marie Harris

hearcolorsThe Girl Who Heard Colors
By Marie Harris
Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
32 pages – ages 3 – 5 years
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books on September 26, 2013

Summary– When Jillian hears a sound she sees colors. Jillian has a condition called “synesthesia.” It is a condition where one sense will trigger another. Jillian doesn’t realize that the other kids don’t hear colors too. When she tells her teacher that a lunch box that toppled to the floor with a crash was “yellow,” the other kids hear what she said and start laughing at her. Jillian is confused but soon her music teacher figures out that she has synesthesia (because he does too) and what it means to “see colors.” Soon Jillian learn to appreciate her extra sense!

What I thought– I never heard of synesthesia before I saw this book reviewed on Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday (click HERE for the review). I actually think it sounds pretty cool to be able to see colors with sound. The book helped me understand what a kid who has the condition sees. I like that the book points out  – “Many famous artists have been synesthetes, including Tori Amos, Duke Ellington, Jimi Hendrix, Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, John Mayer, Mozart, and Degas.”  There is also a small section in the back of the book that tells about Ms. Harris’ experience with meeting kids with synesthesia. The illustrations by Ms. Brantley-Newton are terrific. I love how she shows the sounds in her illustrations. I think books like this, ones that show all people are different in all kinds of different ways, are very important.

I give “The Girl Who Heard Colors” 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

To learn more about Ms. Harris and her other books, please visit her website HERE.

To learn more about the illustrations done by Ms. Brantley-Newton, please visit her website HERE.

Categories: Age 1-5

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37 replies

  1. Mom brought this book home from the library today! She saw the Perfect Picture Book Friday review of it, too. She read A Mango-Shaped Space, which is also about synesthesia. I have never eaten a mango, but it’s on my to-do list.

    Love and licks,

  2. You might also like Wendy Mass’s first book A Mango Shaped Space which is a chapter book about synesthesia … and how I learned about it for the first time through a book too!

  3. This title really intrigued me. I was sort of like this as a kid. I didn’t hear colors, but I associated them visually with things. For example, when I visualized a week, Sunday was white, Monday red, Tuesday yellow, Wed blue, Thursday purple, Friday brown, and Saturday black. The months each had a color. And words would have colors too. Interesting.

    • You have to read the book! In the back part of the book Ms. Harris said that’s how she figures out if kids have synesthesia – at author visits, she asks “what color is the number 7?” Most kids look at her weird but some of them tell her green or red or some other color. So I guess it works in other ways too. Hey what color is the letter “E”? 😀

  4. Thanks. I’m putting this on my library hold list.

  5. Looking forward to reading this, Erik. I’d never heard of the condition before. It’s sounds more common than you’d expect.

  6. Lovely book. It is so good to facilitate awareness of these “gifts” I see colours too, and they “speak” to me…This is not something I would tell most people, but as it’s you, Erik, it’ll be our secret!

  7. Wow, this sounds like a gift not a disorder. I would love to see this way. Those with it seem to be the very creative types. I need to read this. Thanks for the review. Very nice choice.

  8. Oh, I remember reading about this book and was so impressed by it. It was a condition I never knew existed! Great review, Erik 😀

  9. Ah! One I’ve read! A great choice!

  10. I have been meaning to read this so I am glad of your review to remind me. The book that I will review on PPBF this coming Friday also includes synesthesia, which was also new to me until I read Susanna’s review.

  11. That sounds so interesting! Thanks for reviewing it. I will have to check it out!

  12. I agree, it sounds like a gift and not a disorder. Thanks for letting us know about this book, Erik.

  13. I never heard of synesthesia before, but I was really interested to read about it. My sister watches lots of gardening programmes on the TV, and she insists she can smell the flowers. The same with cookery programmes and even unpleasant things – I’ve always just smiled and ignored here – but maybe she really can! I’m going to send her over to your blog.

    • She may have the condition. I think it can be any of the 5 senses triggering another. I’ve had a couple people here comment that this kind of thing happens to them. I actually think it sounds pretty cool! 🙂 Thank you for visiting my blog! Please come again!

  14. Yeah, Neighbor Girl claims to have this a bit… more with colors associated to names and people/objects. She loved Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass, too, which as Cupcake pointed out is bout synesthesia, too. Great review.

  15. You would have to read Pseudonymous Bosch’s Secret Series! It deals with synaesthesia – plus it’s a really great series. 🙂

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