A Book with a Colour in the Title: Picks for the TPL Reading Challenge

September 16, 2022 | Jennifer B

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TPL Reading Challenge 2022

I love this category for the challenge because it's been amazing to discover just how many books have a colour in the title! Searching our library catalogue in colour-specific ways reveals a giant rainbow's worth of material. Please enjoy these bright, bold recommendations from Toronto Public Library staff and Reading Challenge participants.



Blue: In Search of Nature's Rarest Color by Kai Kupferschmidt

Kai Kupferschmidt (@kakape) writes about infectious diseases, food science, nutrition, evolution, and science policy for Science magazine. In this terrific debut, Kupferschmidt studies blue through the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, and art. His investigations reveal that blue is truly something special and beautiful in our world. Highly recommended for non-fiction readers. Physical book lovers: be sure to check out those blue end pages!


Staff recommendations

Here are some recommendations from TPL staff for this category.

Red rising

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

This is the first book in the action-packed, spacefaring Red Rising Saga. I enjoy the complex characters in this series and would recommend it to fans of The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins and Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard (another book with a colour in the title!)

—Natalie, Librarian


White tiger

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

An endearing tale of a man's journey through the social classes in India, replete with suspense, violence, themes of morality, and decency.

—Catherine, Librarian


Color purple

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

A story of the traumas and gradual triumph of Celie, an African American teenager raised in rural isolation in Georgia, as she comes to resist the paralyzing self-concept forced on her by others. Celie narrates her life through painfully honest letters to God.

—Jennifer, Public Service Assistant


Court of silver flames

A ​Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

This is the most recent installment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Throughout, you get to know the main character Feyre and see a glimpse into her rough relationships with her sisters. A Court of Silver Flames is the fifth book in the series and is from the perspective of Feyre's sister, Nesta. The series walks the line between Young Adult and Adult as the romance can get steamy. These action packed, world building books will catch your attention and have you staying up until 2 am to finish.

—Vyktorya, Librarian



Greenwood by Michael Christie

This is a sweeping generational saga that follows the Greenwood family and their nuanced relationship with the natural world. The story begins in the years after a catastrophic ecological event destroyed much of the earth's old growth forests. We are then taken on a journey back through time, from one generation to the next, until we arrive at the Great Depression. It is a parable of sorts, a reminder of the rippling effect of our actions on both a micro and macro scale. It is a novel that excels in both substance and form and one that I've recommended countless times.

—Alex, Librarian


Island of the blue dolphins

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

This enthralling survival story about a twelve-year-old Indigenous girl stranded on an island off the California coast captivated me as a child. Karana has to figure out how to build shelter, gather food, and fend off a pack of wild dogs. For years, I've looked back at the book with great fondness as a compelling adventure story with a strong, female character whose self-reliance was inspiring. As an adult, I discovered the extremely sad, true story behind the fictional tale. I also became aware of the controversy surrounding the much beloved novel related to the depiction of Karana. For the many who enjoyed this book when they were young, consider watching the documentary Alone on the Island of the Blue Dolphins, which delves into the true story behind the book. It is available from the library as a DVD, or via Kanopy, (a streaming service you can access with your library card).

—Maureen, Librarian



Redshirts by John Scalzi

Onboard an adventuring interstellar spaceship, the crew begins to notice that all of the incidents suspiciously keep happening to the staff who wear red shirts. The investigation results in a shocking discovery about the nature of their real mission!

A truly enjoyable romp for fans of science fiction, especially anyone who enjoys Star Trek and may have noticed a similar trend...

—Kieran, Public Service Assistant


Anne of green gables

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

This is one of my all time favourites. I have read it multiple times and might be time for another re-read.

Anne Shirley, an eleven-year-old orphan, has arrived at Green Gables, an old-fashioned farm outside a town called Avonlea, Prince Edward Island only to discover that the Cuthberts – elderly Matthew and his stern sister, Marilla – want to adopt a boy, not a feisty redheaded girl. But before they can send her back, Anne – who simply must have more scope for her imagination and a real home – wins them over completely.

—Jo-Ann, Library Assistant


White ivy

White Ivy by Susie Yang

A powerful YA read and a real page turner! A very dark, modern age Cinderella story with so many twists. How far Ivy will go to achieve her life ambitions? At times painful to read, but fascinating all the way to the end.

—Anna, Librarian


More Staff Recommendations

French Recommendations

If you like to read in French, check out the list of recommended books for "les couleurs"– there's a mix of books, ebooks and digital audiobooks to try!


Recommendations from the Facebook Group

These are just some of the suggestions from our Facebook TPL Reading Challenge 2022 discussion group. You can read all of the responses in the original post even if you don't have a Facebook account. Thank you to everyone for your excellent recommendations!


Orange & Yellow

Green & Blue

Purple & Violet

Black, Brown, Grey, & White


This past January, Lucas and I discussed "a book with a colour in the title" and "a book about time" during the TPL Reading Challenge Online Book Discussion: Kick Off! Please check out the replay on Crowdcast.

If you have further recommendations for "a book with a colour in the title", please share in the comments below!