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