The Day-Glo Brothers:

The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors

Illustrated by Tony Persiani

A 2010 Sibert Honor Book

The Day-Glo Brothers

You know those fluorescent oranges and yellows and greens that you see every day on traffic cones, safety vests, highlighters, and so on?

A hundred years ago, those colors didn't even exist.

The Day-Glo Brothers is the story of the guys who invented those colors while they were in their teens and 20s back during the Depression and World War II.

It all started with a magic act and an accident at the ketchup factory...

Named one of the best children's books of the year by:

48 pages
Ages 7-10
Charlesbridge Publishing
ISBN: 9781570916731

Find It

Find it at your nearest library or local bookstore

Join the Conversation



An animated explanation of how Day-Glo works


An activity and discussion guide

Praise for The Day-Glo Brothers

It's a story in color and about color ... illustrated with tremendous Pop Art verve. [Read an alternate view from my then-five-year-old son.]

The New York Times

Barton clearly and crisply explains how the two young men managed to work together despite the fact that one wanted to be a magician and the other a physician. ... This engaging picture book makes a bright idea stand out even more.

The Washington Post

*Starred Review* Barton brings two unknown inventors into the brilliant light they deserve. ... The final pages explode in Day-Glo radiance. Rendered in 1950s-cartoon style ... these two putty-limbed brothers shine even more brightly than the paints and dyes they created.

Kirkus Reviews

*Starred Review* Barton takes on the dual persona of popular historian and cool science teacher. ... The story is one of quintessentially American ingenuity, with its beguiling combination of imaginative heroes, formidable obstacles, a dash of serendipity and entrepreneurial zeal.

Publishers Weekly

*Starred Review* The story is written in clear language and includes whimsical cartoons. ... This unique book does an excellent job of describing an innovative process.

School Library Journal

Organizing his material well and writing with a sure sense of what will interest children, Barton creates a picture book that celebrates ingenuity and invention.

ALA Booklist


Other Books Citing The Day-Glo Brothers

  • 101 Great, Ready-to-Use Book Lists for Children by Nancy J. Keane (ABC-CLIO, 2012)
  • 101 Great, Ready-To-Use Book Lists for Teens by Nancy J. Keane (ABC-CLIO, 2012)
  • 2012 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market edited by Chuck Sambuchino (Writer's Digest Books, 2011)
  • Hidden History of Cleveland by Christopher Busta-Peck (The History Press, 2011)
  • Picturing the World: Informational Picture Books for Children by Kathleen T. Isaacs (American Library Association, 2013)
  • Ten Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Jeff Anderson (Stenhouse Publishers, 2011)
  • Were Early Computers Really the Size of a School Bus?: And Other Questions about Inventions by Deborah Kops (Lerner Publications, 2011)

Want to win a free book?

Enter your email address to sign up for my Bartography Express newsletter.