All the Colors of the Race Analysis
by Arnold Adoff

Start Your Free Trial

All the Colors of the Race Analysis

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Download All the Colors of the Race Study Guide

Subscribe Now

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 head.And inside my head, I give my self a place  at the end of a long   line forming    it self into a     circle.And I am holding out my hands.

The poem is accompanied by an illustration of the daughter’s face looking outward with a hopeful expression and with hands flung upward.

The impact of and respect for heritage are expressed in three poems about the daughter’s Jewish great-grandmother Ida, who came from a village in Poland to America. Ida’s ancestry is traced in one poem, and her life in the United States is recounted in the second. “I Know We Can Go Back So Far” draws a parallel between the death of some of Ida’s family members in the Nazi death camps of World War II with the deaths of the daughter’s black great-grandmother’s family members in the Civil War and in the slave trade.

The emotions and moods expressed vary from poem to poem, ranging from thoughtfulness to fear and from dreaming to playfulness. Throughout, hope and optimism transcend all else. Introspection is...

(The entire section is 626 words.)