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Red: A Crayon's Story Hardcover – Picture Book, February 3, 2015
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A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as "red" suffers an identity crisis in this picture book by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo. This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone.
Funny, insightful, and colorful, Red: A Crayon's Story is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way. Red will appeal to fans of Lois Ehlert, Eric Carle, and The Day the Crayons Quit, and makes a great gift for readers of any age!
Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let's draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can't be red, no matter how hard he tries!
Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He's blue!
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From School Library Journal
“[A] fresh approach to colors and feelings. . . . Readers will share all the emotional elements of the tale―humor, despair, sadness, frustration, and finally, excitement.” — Booklist (starred review)
“When a red-labeled crayon discovers he’s actually blue, he finds joy, ebullience and acceptance. . . . Hall’s compositions . . . convey a strong sense of emotion. Red captures [his feelings] . . . in an exuberant, far-reaching sky. Smartly designed and appealing, Red’s story offers much for discussion and affirmation.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Crayon Red may be labeled red, but he colors blue. . . . Once he lets go of his label and proclaims, “I’m blue!” everything turns around . . . Smart design, bold colors, and sharp details keep the story both effective and amusing.” — Horn Book Magazine
“Red is a crayon, and children will see his problem right away: his label reads ‘red,’ but he’s blue. . . . The overly cheerful encouragement Red endures will sound familiar to any child who’s struggled to perform. . . . Unexpectedly affecting.” — Publishers Weekly
“Funny and poignant . . . Hall’s latest picture book is all about staying true to oneself, no matter what others say. . . . Witty and heartwarming [and] sure to become a favorite for children and adults alike.” — School Library Journal
“Funny and clever, with a wonderful message about embracing who we are.” — Huffington Post
“This story of mistaken identity has a simple yet profound premise that makes it feel fresh.” — USA Today
“[A] smart, insightful coming-of-age story for [the] youngest readers.” — Shelf Awareness
- ASIN : 0062252070
- Publisher : Greenwillow Books; Illustrated edition (February 3, 2015)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 40 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780062252074
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062252074
- Reading age : 3 - 7 years, from customers
- Lexile measure : AD380L
- Grade level : Preschool - 3
- Item Weight : 14.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 9 x 0.25 x 12 inches
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on June 21, 2020
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This book was read at my local library's story time a couple weeks ago. While the librarian was reading it, I felt an almost instant connection to Red, having always been the weird kid growing up that was always told to act and be like everyone else. I knew I wanted a copy for our home library before the story was even finished. Then, at the end of story time, my neurodivergent four year old ran right past all the kids who were eagerly playing with the bubbles the librarians set up at the end of story time, and headed straight towards where this book was sitting on the table. He picked it up and hugged it to his chest, clearly having felt a similar connection to Red or really Blue that I did. We checked it out that day, and he's wanted to read it every day since. And now we are very happy to have our own copy too.
So while, yes, this book CAN apply to trans kids, or any kid who is LGBTQ+ (which is wonderful), it can also apply to neurodivergent kids, and weird kids, and anyone who feels like they can't just be themselves because someone is always trying to tell them to be something else.
"I began writing Red: A Crayon’s Story, thinking about funny events that might result when a crayon’s label does not match the crayon’s color. But as I collected crayon puns — He’s not sharp enough; He’s not bright enough; He needs to press harder — I began to hear voices from my past. I knew that, at some level, this was my story.
I am dyslexic. As a child, I didn’t think of myself as mislabeled; I thought I wasn’t very bright. (In fact, I wasn’t very bright. But I was like everyone else: bright about some things and not bright about other things.) Red, a blue crayon with a red label, judged himself only by how well he could draw red. He accepted the label he was given and suffered profoundly. He tried in vain to draw himself as a red crayon, he was humiliated in front of his classmates, and he finally stormed off in a fit of frustration.
Both Red and I were blessed with a supportive community. Everyone tried their best to help. But almost no one could see beyond the label, and their actions only made things worse. I believe that most of the damage we do to each other is the result of ignorance rather than cruelty.
This notion was tested recently when I read an article about a high school teacher in Tennessee who was unhappy with a question one of his students asked. He responded by writing the word stupid on the student’s forehead — in front of the class, with a permanent marker, backwards so it could be read in a mirror. Thankfully, that sort of literal labeling is rare these days, but more subtle forms of labeling persist.
I hope Red will be among the many resources that help young children learn about colors. I hope readers of all ages enjoy the antics of Red’s well-meaning friends and family, who simply cannot see beyond his official label. I hope the book will provoke classroom discussions about issues like judging people based on outside appearances, how all of us have both strengths and weaknesses, and the importance of being true to oneself. And I hope Red will inspire reflection about the subtle ways children become mislabeled, judging children based on their successes rather than their failures, and the unmitigated joy of finding one’s place in the world.
I can't recommend this book enough as it has value and purpose in a person's life. The Hero is Berry. Typically heroes are ordinary people that allow/facilitate us to be our best selves. We all need a "Berry" in our lives. We all deserve a teacher, relative, or friend that creates a safe space for us to express ourselves without criticism, shame, or oppression. This is my favorite book. I can relate to RED. It is a very personal story to me.
There wasn't anything available in the 70s or 80s like this for me. Could it have changed my life as a child?
I think it would have. This has become my absolute favorite book. it is my new #1.
My three favorites were WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak
THE KNIGHT AND THE DRAGON by Tomi De Paola
MOM RICHARD HAS A BIG FAT BUTT by Rudi Rudolph
RED by Michael Hall is NOT like the series Drew Daywalt. Oliver Jeffers illustrates the "crayon" stories in a delightful and fun style of art. BTW, I own all the "crayon" books and merchandise. The series is that good.
RED is illustrated by the author. There isn't anything that is as fantastic as RED. It is the best story.
I just ordered all his other books.