Review: Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall

Book cover: Red, the crayon, has coloured the top half of the book blue. The title ‘Red’ is written in blue. Five other crayons look up at Red colouring, one is saying “What?”, another says “Uh-oh”.

A friend of mine was looking for LGBTQIA+ children’s books and I remembered hearing about Red: A Crayon’s Story and recommended it. I was allowed to borrow it, which was one of the highlights of my week. The story can be viewed as an allegory of gender identity. 

Red tries his best to be a red crayon but it just isn’t working out. He keeps drawing in blue. Everyone, from other crayons to office supplies, try to help him be red. What will happen?

The Good

The story was simple but so moving. I actually got a bit emotional after finishing the story and when talking about it with a friend, I couldn’t stop gushing about how great it is.

All the drawings that were drawn by the crayons really looked as though they were drawn with crayons. This was very fitting to the theme of the book and really reminded me of my childhood. I miss crayons! As the book is about a crayon and most of the characters are crayons, it’s a very colourful book. If you’d like to get an idea of the illustrations, take a look at Michael Hall’s page. He has a few sample pages.

There is also single parent representation, which is a thoughtful addition to the book.

The Bad

I enjoyed everything about this book.

All in all

This is not criticism, just something I was thinking about after reading the book. I would have liked to know how the colours of the parents influenced the children’s colour. However, I don’t think there was any logic behind it. Any crayon could have a child of a certain colour.

This book can be used as a discussion tool for identity – I immediately associated it with gender identity but that doesn’t have to be the case. In the case of a discussion of gender identity, I find this book very fitting as it would allow for the inclusion non-binary genders as there are more than two colours of crayons.

I recommend this book primarily to educators and parents. This is an excellent resource that can be used to discuss gender identity with children.

I also recommend this book to anyone who’d like read a beautifully-illustrated, diverse children’s book. It’s a light and quick read, and certainly made me very happy.

5 stars

Have you read Red: A Crayon’s Story? What do you think of the idea?


9 thoughts on “Review: Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall

  1. I haven’t read this one yet but it was recommended to me as a great book for explaining cognitive differences to children – so glad to hear it works for a variety of situations!

    Is your friend looking for a particular age range/reading level or situation? So far I haven’t reviewed any LGBTQIA+ books for children (only YA) but I do have some booklists and a few I’m hoping to review in the future.


      1. Leslea Newman has several board and picture books (Daddy, Papa, and Me is one). Worm Loves Worm, I am Jazz, George (chapter book), several of Todd Parr’s books, And Tango Makes Three, The Boy and the Bindi, The Answer (Steven Universe), the Family Fletcher series (chapter books, good for read-alouds).

        These are just the ones I’ve read or had recommended from a source I trust, but the only one I’ve given the review treatment (close reading) is the first Fletcher book. Hope that helps!


  2. The Fletcher Family books are, here is the first one:
    I’m going to assume Todd Parr’s family book is because I’ve seen it in Spanish and French, although I couldn’t actually find a copy on Amazon.

    If it helps there is a video of And Tango Makes Three:

    And Mommy, Momma, and Me:

    Most of these are fairly recent publications so they haven’t been translated yet, but hopefully will be!


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