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Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky

illustrated by Daniel Minter

Travel the world to explore the complex history and cultural significance of the color blue.

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In Blue, the author talks about how “blue was more than a color. It was a feeling.” Have students investigate their own thoughts and feelings about the color blue by creating a poem that explores connections between color and emotion.

First, bring out the blue—blue paint, crayons, markers, paint sample cards, and other items that are various shades of blue. To guide student thinking, ask them: “How do you feel when you look at the color blue? What does the color blue make you think of? What memories or feelings do things that are blue bring to mind? If blue is your favorite color, why is it?”

Have younger students develop a list poem that focuses on the things that the color blue makes them think of, encouraging them to add descriptive language or alliteration as appropriate. Challenge older students to use simile or metaphor as a poetic device in the poems they create with a focus on the feelings that the color blue brings out in them.

Students can make use of blue markers to copy and embellish their finished poems for display.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

  1. Think about how blue has been important to people throughout history. Do you have things that are blue? Does the color blue have special meaning for you? Has learning the history of blue changed how you feel about the color?
  2. What were you surprised to learn about the color blue? What other questions about the history of the color do you have?
  3. The author points to possible origins of some expressions that use “blue” such as “feeling blue.”  What other expressions using color can you think of? What might be the meanings behind these phrases?

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