Book cover: Red: A Crayon's Storyby Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2015.
Grades PreK-1

It was clear to everyone that something was not right with Red. Red’s strawberries were blue. When Red tried to make orange with Yellow, it came out all wrong.

Teachers tried to help; so did the art supplies. Grandparents offered their best advice, but nothing seemed to help fix Red’s mistakes.

Most assumed Red needed to try harder. Others thought Red was a slow learner, and that Red would get there eventually.

Then one day Red met a new friend, Berry, who asked if Red would draw a blue ocean for Berry’s ship. At first Red was uncertain, but Berry asked that Red just try, and it turned out perfectly. Red had found a niche: drawing blue jeans and blueberries, blue jays and oceans. Now those who looked at Red saw what Red really was: Blue.

Red is a useful book for exploring labels, acceptance, identity, and expectations. On a deeper level it can be used as a springboard to talk about issues such as gender norms and how easily we can change our perceptions of others without accepting responsibility for our biases.