I’ll start with this: If you don’t have Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall in your home collection or in your classroom, hurry and get a copy now.
I see it all the time. A mom who grew up dancing and pushes her daughter to take ballet, but the child has no interest and just wants to play soccer. A dad who was a high school baseball star and wants nothing more than for his son to follow in his footsteps, but that child has no interest and just wants to play piano. A mom who was — and maybe still is — the life of the party, so she encourages play dates and throws the coolest get togethers for her child’s friends. But that child? You guessed it. She has no interest in being a social butterfly and just wants to cuddle on the couch with a good book, more introvert than extrovert. So what do these parents do? They push.. and they push. We are all guilty of it in one way or another - I know I am. We push and we push because we want our children to be just what we imagined them to be, and we don’t always follow their lead.
Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall reminds us to take a step back. To listen. To really, really listen. Red: A Crayon’s Story is the story of Red, a red crayon. Or is it? It seems the crayon is having an identity crisis, for though he is wrapped in a red label, there is no debating that every time he colors, he is not red but blue. His parents, his teacher and even his friends try to help him be Red, but no matter how hard he tries, he simply cannot be what everyone else thinks he should be. Then one day, something magical happens. The frustrated crayon meets a new friend who tells Red what he really needs to hear: Red isn’t Red at all… he’s actually blue! And so it is that this was just what Red needed needed: a gentle nudge to look inward and listen to what he likely knew all along. He was blue! He was really blue! With the encouragement of that one friend, Red gained the courage to be true to who he really was inside.
Is there any more perfect message we want our kids to take away from a story? Is there any more significant ideal we want to instill in our children and students? This book can be read on so many levels, as it hits home for any child — any person — who has ever been “labeled” in a way that doesn’t quite fit. When I first read through the book, I immediately thought it was a message for kids struggling with their gender identities. But after reading it through many more times, I discovered the book conveyed a message so much broader than this. How so? Because when you boil Red: A Crayon’s Story down to its simplest level, it is about any child trying hard to be something that doesn’t fit, simply because they think they must conform to others’ ideas of who or what they should be.
It’s challenging for a kid to break away from societal norms or parental expectations. It’s hard to go against the grain, to follow your heart and do what feels right for you, even when you know you may disappoint others in the process. But Red: A Crayon’s Story beautifully reminds children that when they believe in themselves and stay true to who they are at their core, the possibilities are endless. It’s also a wonderful reminder to parents — and even teachers, too — that we are all unique, every single one of us. It’s hard for our kids to find the courage to let their true colors shine brightly. It’s even harder when we push them to be something they are not. What does this mean? Sometimes the adults need to be courageous, too. Sometimes we need the strength to let go of the expectations we have for our childrenand let them be who they were destined to be. Only then will they truly thrive.
So don’t delay. Grab Red: A Crayon’s Story, today, and let it speak to your kids. We have no doubt that it will get two trunks up from your little ones… and you too.
Did you like this post? We are so glad! We think you will love these as well, so make sure to check them out! Favorite Books About Courage, Picture Books to Help You Raise Kind Kids and Favorite Picture Books of 2018.
Want the book? Get it here! Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall. *This is an affiliate link. HEE received a review copy of this book from the publisher, but all opinions expressed herein are entirely our own!