Red: a crayon’s story by Michael Hall is one of ‘those’ books. You know, the books you read and go “Oh!” then a few goose bumps race up and down your arms. Your brain is telling you that this book is going to be great in the classroom!
This is a story about Red. He’s a crayon who is red. Except he isn't very good at being a red crayon. Everything always turns out blue. Red ants are blue. Strawberries are blue. Cherries, hearts and foxes all come out blue.
Even with help from his parents, teachers, and friends, all his pictures turn out to be the wrong colour. No one quite knows what to do but all have an opinion as to why Red is the way he is. Some crayons are more understanding than others. He becomes very frustrated when practice and hard work doesn't make a bit of difference
A new crayon hits the scene and asks Red to make a blue ocean for her boat. And, voila! A perfect ocean is drawn by Red. He does a good job. No one criticizes him or makes excuses. It is easy! So is making blue birds, blue berries and blue whales. He has finally found out what he was good at doing.
This is a terrific book that looks at identity and individuality in a fun way. No one has to be stuck with a label. Finding what each person (or crayon) is good at changes the game and allows for everyone to shine.
Recommended for preschool to grade 3, but why stop there? Take it to any level and see what happens.
Books to think about pairing with:
Ten Birds by Cybele Young is also about labeling.
This is a Moose by Richard T. Morris about following your heart’s desire and not letting anyone but you in a box.
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt keeps with the crayon theme though the story is about appreciating things we take for granted.
All recommended for the primary grades.