Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 4, 2022

Book Giveaway: YOU ARE MY FAVORITE COLOR by Gillian Sze

Gillian Sze has a new picture book, YOU ARE MY FAVORITE COLOR, illustrated by Nina Mata and published by Philomel Books is available in bookstores. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Gillian and Nina.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments by Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!


A lyrical story of parental love that celebrates and takes pride in the many shades of brown skin. Perfect for fans of I Am EnoughHey Black ChildHair Love, and Our Skin.

When you ask me why your skin is brown,
I will tell you that you are my favorite color.
I will say that your skin was decided long, long ago.
Time was just waiting for you.

So begins a mother’s celebration of her children’s brown skin, told through warm and vivid poetry. With sweeping descriptions of what brown skin means—it is the brawny bear whose paws know the ground of its home, the sequoia tree that reaches up and touches the sun, the glossy shell of roasted chestnuts—this is a book that empowers as it embraces, and that reminds young readers that they have shades of color that only they can discover and express.

With beautiful, lyrical text by powerhouse poet Gillian Sze and vibrant, engaging art by illustrator Nina Mata, the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of LeBron James’s I Promise, this is more than a story of love—it is a song that rings out for brown kids everywhere.


Thank you, Kathy, for inviting me to speak about the journey leading to this book!

The idea behind You Are My Favorite Color came about when my son asked me why his skin is brown. He asked shortly before his third birthday when he put his hand against mine and observed a difference. As a WOC, I was taken aback and quick to worry about where that question came from: did someone make an untoward comment? Was he feeling self-conscious about his brown skin? I realize now that he was just asking a question, the same way a curious child asks why the sky is blue.

In that moment though, I wasn’t quite sure how to answer him in a way that was accessible and effective. I also didn’t want to rely on a discussion about genetics! His skin, for me, was more than just the outcome of DNA. His small, strong, curious, and growing brown body took up so much space in my world. How could I adequately express all of the things that made him unique, exceptional, and miraculous? The book, I feel, is a much-delayed answer to my son’s question.

You Are My Favorite Color explores the “whys” behind a child’s beautiful brown skin, using the five senses and a myriad of analogies to describe the color. Brown skin is associated with confidence (such as “the brawny bear whose paws know the ground of its home”), strength (also found in the hickory tree), and joy (as seen in “the sandy shore that the sea rushes to greet”). Written in second person, the book features a parent-narrator addressing the child as they lovingly explore how brown skin carries beauty, history, and individuality, while anticipating all of the wonderful things to come.

I was so fortunate to work with Niña Mata, another WOC, who understands the stakes implicit in a question about skin color. Her artwork is so vivid and memorable and contains a joy that lasts long after the book is closed. When I saw her sketches of a multiracial family, I was overcome. The beauty of the cover gets me every time.

The text hinges on the refrain and opening line, “When you ask me why your skin is brown…” The book is, more personally, a response to my Chinese-Indian children about their skin colour, but also a celebration for all people who identify as brown. I hope that You Are My Favorite Color provides an answer that soothes, reassures, celebrates, and empowers the child who listens or reads.


GILLIAN SZE is a writer and teacher. She is the author of multiple poetry collections, including Peeling Rambutan (Gaspereau Press, 2014), Redrafting Winter (BuschekBooks, 2015), and Panicle (ECW Press, 2017), which were finalists for the QWF’s A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry.

She has also published creative nonfiction, articles, interviews, and book reviews. More recently, she has started writing for children and has published two picture books: The Night Is Deep and Wide (illustrated by Sue Todd) and My Love for You Is Always (illustrated by Michelle Lee). Sze’s work has been supported by the Canada Council of the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and has received awards such as the University of Winnipeg Writers’ Circle Prize and the 3Macs carte blanche Prize.

Her work has also attained starred reviews from Quill & Quire, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews and has been translated into Slovenian, French, Italian, Turkish, Hebrew, and Greek. She has served as a judge for a number of national and international literary competitions, such as the Montreal International Poetry Prize, the National Magazine Awards, the bpNichol Chapbook Award, and the Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize. She studied Creative Writing and English Literature and received a Ph.D. in Études anglaises from Université de Montréal. Originally from Winnipeg, she now resides in Montreal where she teaches creative writing and literature.

She has worked with:

Philomel (Penguin Random House USA), Groundwood Books, Gaspereau Press, ECW Press, DC Books, BuschekBooks, Orca Book, Baseline Press, Withwords Press, Cumulus Press, Véhicule Press, Quebec Writers’ Federation, Poetry London, Frye Festival, The Word on the Street Festival, Days of Poetry and Wine (Slovenia), Blue Metropolis, Ottawa International Writers’ Festival, Summer Literary Seminars, The Atwater Poetry Project, Nuit Blanche, La poésie partout, Festival de la poésie de Montréal, Salon du livre de Montréal, CBC, the National Magazine Awards, This Magazine, The Malahat Review, Literary Review of Canada, Room Magazine, Ricepaper Magazine, Poetry is Dead, Prairie Fire, Arc Poetry Magazine, Maisonneuve, CV2, The Toronto Quarterly, mRb, carte blanche, Poetry-Quebec, among others.


Author and Illustrator Nina Mata is the #1 New York Times Bestselling Illustrator of “I Promise” by LeBron James (nominated for the 52nd NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature). She is also 2021 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honoree for her work in “Ty’s Travels, Zip Zoom by Kelly Starling Lyons”.

Nina grew up a typical latchkey kid in Queens, New York. Her family emigrated from the Philippines when she was 6 years old. Because her parents worked and went to night school, Nina spent a lot (like a whole lot) of time drawing. Her after school activities usually involved watching Bob Ross, Reading Rainbow and looking for adventures in the library (which she still does). 

Nina studied Illustration at The Fashion Institute of Technology of NY. During her editorial internship at Sesame Workshop, Nina discovered her love of children’s books. She now creates illustrations for childrens publishing and is passionate about representing the beauty and diversity of the world.

She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband, their daughter and Tabi, the cat.

Nina is a proud member of the SCBWI and The Society of Illustrators. She is represented by The Cat Agency.

Gillian, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love when I pick up a book and feel the author’s words radiating from their heart and off the page. That is what I felt while working on sharing your book with everyone. As a mother you made me think about the beauty of a new baby and wanting them to grow up feeling loved and happy. It is a very heartwarming book. I am a fan of Nina’s art and love the sweet illustrations she created for this book. They really helped convey your feelings to the reader. Love the story. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. As a mom, I’m so excited to read this book–it’s already warmed my heart and soul. The illustrations are wonderful and warm. I’m an email subscriber and shared on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and tumblr.


  2. The images are inviting and extraordinary.


  3. This looks like a perfectly lovely book. I will check it out. I’ll pass on the giveaway since I recently won a book here.


  4. What a lovely, lyrical book! And the illustrations fit it perfectly.


  5. Gorgeous! I can’t wait to read your new book, Gillian and Nina! Congratulations!

    I follow by email and tweeted this post. 🙂


  6. Lovely! I am an email subscriber and I tweeted


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: