Category: Special Education
Title: Red: A Crayon’s Story
Author: Michael Hall
Illustrator: Michael Hall
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
ISBN Number: 978-0062252074
Number of Pages:
Reading Level: K-3
Genre: Children’s picture book, fantasy
Summary: This is the story of a crayon that is labeled red but colors blue. The crayon is doing its best to fit in and everyone tries to help it color red, but it just does not work. Red suffers an identity crisis and is extremely upset. Then, a friend comes along and helps the crayon discover that he is actually blue! This makes him feel accepted and happy.
Main Themes: The theme of the story is that it is okay to be different. The crayon cannot conform to everyone else’s expectations and he feels bad but when he discovers he is not as he perceived he feels better. It teaches to look beyond labels and outside appearances.
Strengths: The strength of the story is that it is easily relatable for anyone. It can be adapted to almost any topic. I chose to put it in special education because I think it would especially apply to someone experiencing differences in this area. The author, Michael Hall, was diagnosed as dyslexic at the age of 8. He later lost vision in his left eye. He has experience of feeling different and going through school needing to receive special education. The story is light hearted enough to apply to anything, not just special education, but can help those that have special needs feel confident and help those that do not be more understanding of them.
Weaknesses: A weakness in the story could be that it ends too soon. What I mean by that is that after the crayon discovers that he is actually blue and feels confident and excited to have discovered that, it does not talk much about the reactions of his peers. I think it would be powerful for the story to include going back to the events at the beginning of the book and having him explore those knowing he is a blue crayon and succeed. This would motivate a student with special needs to discover what they are good at and stick to it. The book has won the Irma Simonton Black and Hames H. Black Award 2005-2017. It also was a finalist in the E. B. White Read-aloud Award, Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award, and Minnesota Book Award. It won the Booklist Best Picture Books in 2015 and was on the Rainbow list in 2016.
https://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?a=1&tid=42279 : This website is loaded with links and information. It has everything from book trailers to lesson plans to awards of the book listed.
http://www.mackinviacommunity.com/2014/07/09/michael-hall/ : This is a link to an author interview of Michael Hall where he shares his motivation behind the writing of the story.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytZ2fhuj6kA : This is a link to a Youtube read aloud of the story.