Books: ‘Every Color of Light’ by Hiroshi Osada

Which adult among us hasn’t found much joy reading sumptuously illustrated picture books? I grew up reading picture books, and never out-grew my love for them even today. Every Color of Light (2020) is a picture book that celebrates the shifting colors of the light in the context of the weather. The text is written by Hiroshi Osada, complemented with beautiful artwork by artist Ryoji Arai.

Born in Fukushima just as World War II was breaking out, Osada composed this spare, lyrical book upon turning 80, having lived through unimaginable storms. Arai’s illustrations – radiating more than color, radiating soul and the buzzing aliveness of the shifting weather – amplify the sense of wonder in the drama.

The story traces the symphonic movements of a storm, beginning with the pitter-patter of a rainy day, which then crescendos into whipping wind and slanting rain as the sky grows darker and the greens deeper, interrupted now and then by the electric terror of lightning. And then, just like that, the storm passes, leaving a shimmering light-filled sky in its wake, and in moments, the darkened sky is imbued with a new vibrancy as the setting sun bathes everything with its golden light. As the day grows, the shadows grow longer, the birds go to roost, the moon rises enormous and ancient against the star-studded sky, and it is time to sleep.

Selected Illustrations from Every Color of Light

“By employing landscapes in lieu of human or animal characters, Osada and Arai ask readers to look—really look—at the rain, the way the changing weather transforms the visible spectrum, and the magnificence of the night sky, phenomena all too often unseen in a hurry-up world. The result is a story that sharpens the senses and quiets the soul.” ~ Publishers Weekly


This post is adapted from the longer version by Maria Popova, founder of Brain Pickings. All images are from her website at

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