Red, A Crayon's Story

Children's book review of a story about a crayon that works against the labels put on them.


Tamara Sadlo

2 min read

RED, A Crayon’s Story

By Michael Hall

Review Written by Tamara Sadlo (she/her), Accessibility Consultant, Ally. If I misspoke anywhere in my review, I look forward to receiving feedback on how to be a better ally. Thank you.

Books allow readers to empathize and experience the world from another perspective. Goals this book achieved (as with many books!) is cultural exposure of experiences different from what my children experience first-hand. 

This is the story of a lovely and unique crayon. The crayon’s name is Red. The crayon is clothed in a paper wrapper titled with the label "RED". A look past the boarder of the misplaced red wrapper shroud, the reader notices a very beautiful BLUE stick of wax. The logical human viewer says, “sure, a mix up at the crayon factory & the wrong packaging was put on this thing”. But this isn’t for logical adults, this is a fun story for kids with crayon buddies that talk to each other. Crayon citizens ask this blue crayon to draw red things. As you can imagine this leads to the main conflict of the story as the blue strawberries are unsettling to the other crayons. The “Red” crayon tries and tries, but no matter how hard they try, they just can’t give the other crayons what they want.

One day the crayon decides to lean in to who they are and embraces the beautiful blue color and what they can create. The other crayons oooh and ahhh at the beautiful blue clouds and accept that this crayon is more than the mis-labeling on their wrapper.

As a parent, what I appreciate is that this story lays the foundation to communicate to young readers that their adult understands we can feel different, or that we don’t match the expectations of the labels others put on us. In a way reading material like this creates a safe space and teachable moments to remind your young ones, I love you, I see you, please BE YOU.

TLDR: Book that celebrates breaking free of the (incorrect) labels put on humans! This is also a story that could help children understand their non-binary, or trans peers in a loving & thoughtful way.

PROS: Easily understood metaphors about the labels put on us, and how they don’t always represent who we are and what we do. In this case we have a mislabeled crayon with their peers expecting things that they aren’t capable of doing how they expect. This book also reminds young readers that it’s OK to feel differently than the labels put on them.

CONS: Surprised this hasn’t won more awards or is on more shelves. It seems grossly underrated.

PAIRS WELL WITH: Other books about characters thinking for themselves and not being fit into a box of labels /  gender roles, etc.

[Video to “Be You”, looks like a NON-Dr.Suess answer to “Oh the Places You Will Go”--the book that is very popular to gift at graduations.]

#LGBTQ-family-friendly, #ProtectTransKids

© Review Written by: Tamara Sadlo 2023