Books & Links


One of the main goals of this project is to build on the natural curiosity that makes people want to learn more and provide resourcesfor those further explorations (not just the immediate answers to initial questions). As such, one of the main topics of will be Explorationthat will include books and links for more information. To provide some of these resources as the project is being developed, I have created this pageto collect the books and links that will likely end up in the modules. They are listed in approximately ascending order of level from those for youngchildren to those for graduate students. But everyone is encouraged to explore everything! Don't forget to scroll all the way down the page. There isa lot of material here.

Please submit comments or suggestions for resources using this feedback form.

Books Updated: Jan. 14, 2014
Links Updated: Aug. 19, 2013


Level 1
Level 1

Monique Felix, The Colors, Creative Editions, Mankato (1993).

Alan Baker, White Rabbit's Color Book, Kingfisher, New York (1995).

Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon, Harper Collins, New York (1947).

Bentley & Cahoon, Good Night, Sweet Butterflies: A Color Dreamland, Little Simon, New York (2003).

Eric Carle, My Very First Book of Colors, Penguin, New York (2005).

Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Henry Holt, New York (1967).

Level 2
Level 2

Ruth Heller, Color, Putnam & Grosset, New York (1995).

Shane DeRolf, The Crayon Box that Talked, Scholastic, New York (1996).

Dr. Seuss, My Many Colored Days, Knopf, New York (1996).

Dr. Seuss, One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish, Random House, New York (1960).

Hervé Tullet, Pink Lemon, Milet, London (2001).

Joanna Cole, The Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow: A Book About Color, Scholastic, New York (1997).

Level 3
Level 3

Betsy Maestro, Why Do Leaves Change Color?, Scholastic, New York (1994).

Anita Ganeri, Nature's Patterns: Season to Season, Heinemann Library, Chicago (2005).

Monica Hughes, Nature's Patterns: Water Cycle, Heinemann Library, Chicago (2004).

Samuel G. Woods, Crayons from Start to Finish, Blackbirch Press, Woodbridge (1999).

Chris Oxlade, Tales of Invention: The Camera, Heineman, Chicago, (2011).

"Editors of Klutz", Oddball Eyeballs: A Book on Vision and How Weird it is, Klutz, Palo Alto, (2006).

"Editors of The New Book of Popular Science", Color Me Science, Scholastic, New York, (2008).

Level 4
Level 4

Jon Richards, The Science Factory, Copper Beech, Brookfield (2000).

Wendy Mass, A Mango-Shaped Space, Little, Brown Young Readers (2003).

Judy Galens and Nancy Pear, The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents), Visible Ink, Detroit (2002).

Al Seckel, Incredible Visual Illusions: You won't believe your eyes!, Arcturus, London (2003).

David M. Schwartz, Q is for Quark: A Science Alphabet Book, Tricycle Press, Berkeley (2001).

Jayne Parsons, Robin Kerrod, Sharon Ann Holgate, The Way Science Works, DK Children, New York (2002).

David Macaulay, The New Way Things Work, Houghton Mifflin, New York (1998).

Tristan Boyer Binns, What Color is an Orange, Raintree, Chicago (2007).

Level 5
Level 5

Pat Murphy, Ellen Macaulay et al., Exploratopia, Little Brown, New York (2006).

M. Luckiesh, Visual Illusions: Their Causes, Characteristics & Applications, Dover, New York (1965).

Oliver Sacks, An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales, Vintage, New York (1996).

Christopher Griffith, Fall, powerHouse, New York (2004).

Faber Birren, Principles of Color, Schiffer, Atglen (1987).

Richard D. Zakia and Hollis N. Todd, Color Primer I & II, Morgan & Morgan, Dobbs Ferry (1974).

Josef Albers, Interaction of Color, Yale, New Haven (1972).

Odeda Rosenthal and Robert H. Phillips, Coping with Color-Blindness, Avery, Garden City Park (1997).

Level 6
Level 6

Hazel Rossotti, Colour: Why the World Isn't Grey, Princeton (1983).

Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty, The Color of Nature, Chronicle Books, San Francisco (1996).

Gideon Defoe, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, Pantheon, New York (2004).

Robert Greenler, Rainbows, Halos, and Glories, Cambridge (1980).

Jean Bourges, Color Bytes: Blending the Art and Science of Color, Chromatics Press, Forest Hills (1997).

Faber Birren, Color and Human Response, Wiley, New York (1978).

Jim Long and Joy Turner Luke, The New Munsell Student Color Set, 2nd Ed., Fairchild, New York (2001).

Thomas D. Rossing and Christopher J. Chiaverina, Teaching Light & Color, AAPT, College Park (2001).

David P. Jackson, Priscilla W. Laws, and Scott V. Franklin, Explorations in Physics: An Activity-Based Approach to Understanding the World, Wiley, New York (2003).

Level 7
Level 7

Trevor Lamb and Janine Bourriau, Color: Art and Science, Cambridge (1995).

David K. Lynch and William Livingston, Color and Light in Nature, Cambridge (2001).

Samuel J. Williamson and Herman Z. Cummins, Light and Color in Nature and Art, Wiley, New York (1983).

Maureen C. Stone, A Field Guide to Digital Color, A.K. Peters, Natick (2003).

Richard D. Zakia, Perception and Imaging, 2nd Ed., Focal, Boston (2002).

Pete Turner, The Color of Jazz, Rizzoli, New York (2006).

Austin Richards, Alien Vision: Exploring the Electromagnetic Spectrum with Imaging Technology, SPIE, Bellingham (2007).

William L. Wolfe, Optics Made Clear: The Nature of Light and How We Use It, SPIE Press, Bellingham (1999).

Thomas D. Rossing and Christopher J. Chiaverina, Light Science: Physics and the Visual Arts, Springer, New York (1999).

David Falk, Dieter Brill, and David Stork, Seeing the Light: Optics in Nature, Photography, Color, Vision, and Holography, Wiley, New York (1986).

Graham Saxby, The Science of Imaging: An Introduction, IoP, Bristol (2002).

Ralph M. Evans, Eye, Film, and Camera in Color Photography, Wiley, New York (1959).

Richard Jackson, Lindsay MacDonald, and Ken Freeman, Computer Generated Color, Wiley, Chichester (1994).

Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World, Random House, New York (2002).

Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses, Vintage Books, New York (1990).

Level 8
Level 8

Kenneth R. Fehrman and Cherie Fehrman, Color: The Secret Influence, 2nd Ed., Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey (2004).

David A. Goss and Roger W. West, Introduction to the Optics of the Eye, Butterworth Heinemann, Boston (2002).

Margaret Livingstone, Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing, Harry N. Abrams, New York (2002).

Leo M. Hurvich, Color Vision, Sinauer, Sunderland (1981).

Harvey Richard Schiffman, Sensation and Perception: An Integrated Approach, 4th Ed., Wiley, New York (1996).

Dale Purves and R. Beau Lotto, Why We See What We Do: An Empirical Theory of Vision, Sinauer, Sunderland (2003).

Philip Ball, Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color, Farrar, Straus And Giroux, New York (2001).

Raymond L. Lee and Alistair B. Fraser, The Rainbow Bridge: Rainbows in Art, Myth, and Science, Penn State Press (2001).

Helen Ross and Cornelis Plug, The Mystery of the Moon Illusion, Oxford University Press, Oxford (2002).

Heinrich Zollinger, Color: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Wiley, Weinheim (1999).

John Gage, Color and Meaning: Art, Science, and Symbolism, University of California Press, Berkeley (1999).

John Gage, Color and Culture: Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction, University of California Press, Berkeley (1993).

Rolf G. Kuehni, Color: Essence and Logic, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York (1983).

Rolf G. Kuehni, Color: An Introduction to Practice and Principles, 2nd Ed., Wiley, New York (2005).

Rolf G. Kuehni and Andreas Schwarz, Color Ordered: A Survey of Color Systems from Antiquity to the Present, Oxford University Press, New York (2008).

Richard J.D. Tilley, Colour and the Optical Properties of Materials, 2nd Ed., Wiley, Chichester (2011).

Kurt Nassau, The Physics and Chemistry of Color: The Fifteen Causes of Color, Wiley, New York (1983).

R.W.G. Hunt, The Reproduction of Colour, 6th Ed., Wiley, Chichester (2004).

Roy S. Berns, Billmeyer and Saltzman's Principles of Color Technology, 3rd Ed., Wiley, New York (2000).

E. Reinhard, E.A. Khan, A.O. Akyüz, G.M. Johnson, Color Imaging: Fundamentals and Applications, A.K. Peters, Wellesley (2008).

Mark D. Fairchild, Color Appearance Models, 2nd Ed., Wiley, Chichester (2005).


Level 1
Level 1

Linda's Learning Links (Colors)

A website for teachers and parents of young children. Tidbits collected and provided by a kindergarten teacher.


Learn about crayons and other color topics (like favorite colors). Lots of activities too. Here is a direct link to the pageswith information on America's favorite colors. This website has apparently been deleted.

Color Can be Healthy for Kids!

Five a Day the Color Way! A fun site for kids that uses color to help remind everyone to eat their veggies and fruits.


A site with educational resources for students, teachers, and parents. Includes a variety of interactive science modulesin three collections (K-2, 3-6, and Middle School). Great fun and great resources. FOSS stands for "Full Option Science System".

Level 2
Level 2

Earth Science Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

National Geographic Photo of the Day

Optics Picture of the Day

Four very interesting "picture-of-the-day" sites.

NASA Images

NASA Images offers public access to NASA's images, videos and audio collections. NASA Images is constantly growing with the addition of current media from NASA as well as newly digitized media from the archives of the NASA Centers. The goal of NASA Images is to increase our understanding of the earth, our solar system and the universe beyond in order to benefit humanity.

Why Leaves Change Color

Here is a concise and accurate explanation from the US Dept. of Agriculture.

Maple Syrup Color

Maple syrup is done when it reaches 7.5 degrees above the boiling point of water (at a density that is 67% sugar and 33% water).It is not made darker by boiling it longer (or lighter and therefore more expensive by boiling for less time). The colors of various grades come from the nature of the sap. This site provides a brief explanationand other information about Maple syrup.

Liquid Sculpture - Water Art

Fun high-speed images of water droplets doing various things in various colors. It is interesting to observe the various colormixtures and formations in the images and ponder how they were made.

Level 3
Level 3

Neuroscience for Kids

"Discover the exciting world of the brain, spinal cord, neurons and the senses. Use the experiments, activities and games to help you learn about the nervous system. There are plenty of links to other web sites for you to explore".

Infrared Zoo

Part of a site on infrared astronomy at Caltech, CoolCosmos. The entire site is worth exploring. The link goes right to their "infrared zoo"that has images of various animals made with a thermal infrared camera (images of emitted heat, rather than reflected light). The only downsideis that they make the all-too-common mistake of calling infrared energy, "infrared light". If you can't see it, it's not light!

Coloring Carnations

A nice experiment on making carnations different colors. The site also includes other interesting experiments and other resources.

Color in Motion

"An interactive experience of color communication and color symbolism."

"Science Myths" in K-6 Textbooks and Popular Culture

If someone is taught something incorrectly first, it is very difficult to "unlearn" that mistake and "learn" the correct information.This website points out some errors and misconceptions that creep into students educational experiences. There is also a lot of otherinformation to explore there.

Ames Room Explanation

A nice explanation of the visual illusion of distorted space and size known as the Ames Room. Also explore the links to the "Hall of Illusions".

Level 4
Level 4

Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena

A wonderful collection of visual phenomena with great interactive demonstrations and detailed explanations.

Optical Illusion Time

Another great collection of links to optical illusions. This one was sent to me by a teacher who had it pointed out to her by a fourth-grade student. Enjoy!

Optics for Kids

"Exploring the science of light" for kids from the Optical Society of America.

A Very Cool Illusion

My original link has expired, but here is a link to an explanation of a very cool illusion that has been popular on the internet. This one demonstration shows both how stimuli fade in the periphery and illustrates chromatic adaptation.

Selective Perception

Follow these instructions before you click the link...
In the video you will see a group of basketball players, some in white and some in black, passing two balls around. Your goal is to count how many times the ball is passed by those wearing white shirts. It's that simple. Remember, count just the passes of the ball by those wearing white. Once the movie is over, write down the number of passes you have counted.
Did you see anything strange? Watch the video again without following the basketball.

More Visual Illusion Links

Several people have submitted links to pages with visual illusions. Here is a list of some of them. (Thanks, Seth!)
Ted Adelson's Discounting-the-Illuminant Demo on APOD.
Grand Illusions.
Mo' Illusions.
Archimedes' Laboratory.
UML Illusions Gallery.
Laser Eye Surgeons' Fun Visual Tricks & Optical Illusions.

Level 5
Level 5

Project LITE at Boston University

A fantastic web site full of Flash demos of various visual phenomena. The interactive demos can be used online, or downloaded foruse in presentations, etc. Definitely worth some exploration.

More Complex Visual Contrast Illusions/Effects

Some very interesting visual stimuli illustrating the complexities of human color perception and the importance of contrast. Alsoincludes detailed explanations and links to other "illusions" pages.

"About" Photography: Understanding Colour

An article from that explains some basics of color, particularly in digital photography.

MadSciNet: The 24-Hour Exploding Laboratory

"MadSci Network represents a collective cranium of scientists providing answers to your questions. For good measure we provide a variety of oddities as well."


The US Dept. of Energy's Ask-A-Scientist site. An extensive archive of questions and answers.

Level 6
Level 6

Last Word

NewScientist's interactive science Q&A page. Another resource of science questions and answers.

Color Matters

A fun collection of information and resources about color ... some science, some not. All interesting! I often refer people totheir page on Baker-Miller Pink when they are curious about it. Also lots of peopleask about color and heat absorption. There is a page with details of a heat absorption experiment.

Color Symbolism

A topic of much interest and confusion. While there are no definitive answers, this site provides some resources on commonsymbolism for various colors.

SDC Colour Museum

A fun and informative interactive site from the Society of Dyers and Colourists Colour Museum (now simply the "Colour Experience") in Bradford, UK.


An online museum with "exhibits" about color, vision, art, pigments, and a number of other topics. Their Causes of Color resourceis particularly enjoyable.


An online encyclopedia covering many aspects of color. In their own words it "is a truly unique resource of ideas and information about colour. Compiled by a number of prominent art experts, our encyclopedia can provide the required colour information for any visitor be they a primary school student or an architect."


A great place to learn about how stuff works, from mood rings, to human vision, to rainbows, to color television, etc. One of the mostcommon questions I receive is about how mood rings work. I always point to the HowStuffWorks explanation. It also has great explanations of things like light, fireworks, TV, etc.

Optics for Teens

"Exploring the science of light" for teens from the Optical Society of America.


A gateway to over 400 science centers. In their own words, TryScience is a "gateway to experience the excitement of contemporary science and technology through on and offline interactivity with science and technology centers worldwide. Science is exciting, and it's for everyone!Ideas for experiments, field trips, etc.


Too much to even describe. Spend some time exploring their resources, projects, etc. etc. etc. I love the "Science Snacks".

Ontario Science Centre: Science Resources

Another fine science museum. Thankfully there are a lot of them. This link is directly into their resources for teachers and students, such as science fair tips.

Rochester Museum and Science Center

I can't neglect our local science museum, especially since they have assisted with this project and hosted our students many times.I am particularly a fan of their Cumming Nature Center (mmm ... maple syrup).

Arbor Scientific

Arbor Scientific sells inexpensive materials and equipment for science teachers, including much on light and color. They also have onlineresources such as their newsletter. This issue has nice discussions of atmospheric optics, like rainbows.

One Planet Many People

An example of how imaging and science can help us understand the planet and our impact upon it. "Through a combination of ground photographs, current and historical satellite images, and narrative based on extensive scientific evidence, this publication illustrates how humans have altered their surroundings and continue to make observable and measurable changes to the global environment."

29+ Evidences for Macroevolution

Evolution is helpful in understanding much about color and perception. I have been asked about my "assumptions"that evolution actually happens and have used this link to provide some sound scientific evidence. Enjoy if you are curious.

TED: Ideas worth spreading

"TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader." The website includes high-quality videos of fascinating talks on a wide variety of topics and is updated regularly.

The Dimensions of Colour

Essentially on online textbook/tutorial on appearance, or "the dimensions of colour and light" written from the perspective of artists.The site is very nicely done and blends technical and artistic information well.

Joy of Visual Perception

An extensive web book on visual perception with many links to other resources.


Learn about color blindness and make images that simulate what people with color vision deficiencies might see.

Level 7
Level 7

Bruce MacEvoy's handprint

A great site that is mainly about watercolor, but has lots of other information and wonderful explanationsof color vision and color science topics.

What Color Eyes...?

A fun and informative exploration of the genetics of eye color. Includes an eye color calculator for your children and alsoexplanations of how eye color is determined and inherited.

Virtual Color Museum

Detailed explanations of 59 color systems from throughout history along with other information on color order, color and culture, etc.Content is available in multiple languages. This website has apparently been deleted.

A non-commercial site with some interesting and useful color calculators, definitions of equations, and general information for those interestedin digital color imaging.

Level 8
Level 8

CVRL Color & Vision Database

A collection of fundamental data (e.g., color matching functions, cone responsivities, etc.) that are useful in computations for colorimetry and color vision.


An online graduate level textbook on vision. Very extensive.

Review Papers on Color Vision

A special issue of "Clinical and Experimental Optometry" with a collection of outstanding review papers on many facets color vision.A great resource for college-level teaching.

Munsell Color Science Laboratory

Our lab at RIT.