I love a good children’s picture book. I love opening the book to read a new story and share with my children. My all time favorites are ones that have themes relevant for adults too. I’m not just talking about being funny. You know the ones that have clever jokes that are above the heads of the little ones, but the parents get? No, sometimes books have greater themes tucked deep into a children’s book that are meant for the adults. We need to be reminded. We need to have conversation starters for our kids.
What greater way than through a picture book that can be shared?
There are a few of these books that I absolutely love — for me. Themes that I need to be reminded of. Incredible You is one of those books that I’ve written about before. It’s such an inspirational book teaching us how to believe in ourselves. It’s a book to be read and reread. It also makes a great graduation gift. I know, silly, right? Giving a high school graduate a picture book, but let me tell you, these stories resonate with people. Why not give an adult a picture book?
This week I received a copy of Red by Michael Hall. Hall is the author of The Orange Aardvark that I wrote about last year. Love that book. It’s sweet and funny. But it’s more truly a children’s book.
His new book is about a crayon — a red crayon that is mislabeled. Red, the main character, is a blue crayon in a red crayon wrapper. Mislabled.
The crayon’s parents can’t figure out what’s wrong. His grandparents think he isn’t warm enough (there’s some of that humor that adults will get). All his friends try to help him figure out what’s wrong. No matter how hard he tries, or how many people help him, he can only color in blue. Everyone thinks this is wrong. What is wrong with him? Why can’t he draw in red?
Not one person, even Red himself, thinks it’s something else that’s wrong. That Red is fine just the way he is.
It reminds me of an Albert Einstein quote:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
I just love this quote. It helps us understand that we are not made to know everything, or to be able to do everything. We have a special purpose. “Everybody is a genius!”
Back to Red. Finally, along comes a different crayon, a purple crayon. This crayon asks Red to draw him a blue ocean. Red says, “I can’t.” This line nearly breaks my heart. He’s defeated. He believes he can’t. He thinks he a fish that is being asked to climb a tree!
The Purple crayon persists and asks, “can you try?” Red tries and succeeds! He draws a blue ocean.
Red realizes he’s blue. BLUE! He never was red. Nothing was wrong with him. He was mislabeled! No one was lifting him up, or believing in him. All they were trying to do was find out what was wrong.
I can’t tell you how many different themes this book covers in one simple story. Here’s a few that come to mind:
- believe in yourself
- overcoming doubt (your own and others)
- treat others as they want to be treated
- tolerance for people’s differences
- never give up
My 9-year-old says it’s about not judging a book by its cover. Indeed. The brilliant part of this book is that it’s a simple story about crayons.
I have to admit that I’m reading a lot into a simple picture book, but I think it’s a great way to open dialogue in your home.
Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book. Affiliate links are used in this post, so, if you make a purchase I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Opinions are my own.