All the Colors of the Race Critical Essays

Arnold Adoff


(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Although All the Colors of the Race is aimed primarily at children aged ten through thirteen, the poetry and art can be read, examined, discussed, and appreciated by children and young people of all ages. African American children gain strength in their knowledge of themselves and their heritage, while children of other races gain knowledge of another culture, from which can come respect and understanding.

Rhythm and music are found in the language of the poetry. Adoff believes that poetry requires the active participation of the reader and that every poem should be read at least twice: first for meaning and then for rhythm. His poetry in this collection is best appreciated when read aloud and shared.

The verbal and visual images of All the Colors of the Race are dedicated to Adoff’s own children and to “their brothers and sisters of every race and every wonderful blend of races.” Adoff views faith in young people as the key to a hopeful future. This message is set forth in the book: It is “a presentation of power and love. Celebrate the meaning and music of your lives. Stand free and take control.” The first poem in the collection is the title poem, and it expresses the intention of the book.

All the colors of the raceare in my face, and just behind my face: behind my eyes: inside my...

(The entire section is 626 words.)