Red: A Crayon's Story

by Michael Hall

Hardcover, 2015





Greenwillow Books (2015), 40 pages


Red's factory-applied label clearly says that he is red, but despite the best efforts of his teacher, fellow crayons and art supplies, and family members, he cannot seem to do anything right until a new friend offers a fresh perspective.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Sullywriter
Identity crisis for blue crayon mistakenly labeled red.
LibraryThing member tapestry100
A blue crayon, mistakenly labeled red, has a hard time of things as he is constantly bombarded by others to be red: his teachers try to get Red to draw strawberries; Red's mother sends him on a playdate with a yellow crayon and tries to convince him to draw an orange with her; the scissors trim his label down, thinking maybe it's too tight. Yet no matter how hard he tries, Red simply cannot be anything other than what he is: blue. Finally, through a new friend who see's him for what he really is, Red finally accepts his blue self and learns to love himself despite the label that others think he should be following.

A charming, clever tale letting kids know that it's ok to be who you are, despite what others say, Michael Hall's Red: A Crayon's Story is a story that adults can enjoy just as much as kids will.
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LibraryThing member melissarochelle
Read on March 17, 2015

This is another story with a message. Everyone eventually finds what they're good at and where they fit in -- sometimes it just takes time and it might not be totally obvious. No matter what, just be yourself.

I wouldn't recommend this one for bedtime reading though, definitely for an older kid who can read it with their parent instead of simply being read to. (The things you learn once you have a kid to read to.)… (more)
LibraryThing member melodyreads
Red was really a BLUE crayon, with a RED label.

Nice story!!!!
LibraryThing member brynnschaal
The message that stood out to me was that everyone has his or her own strengths. I feel like this is a message my students can relate to, especially students that do not feel like they have strengths or are hard on themselves because they do not relate to others readily. This book can be used for encouragement, encouraging students to “keep trying their best” and “be themselves” because they’ll find their strengths as they continue to put forth effort in their lives. The themes and central messages are good and elementary students could definitely pull them out, so I think this book is useful for teaching the element of theme.… (more)
LibraryThing member MeganSchneider
Although I haven't struggled with coming out as transgender; I have had the fear of coming out as a lesbian in a very conservative household. That fear can consume a child. This book is an amazing way book for any child you may think would be going through some sort of identity crisis. I love love loved this book and want to read it to children as often as I can.… (more)
LibraryThing member EBurggraf
As a color book, nothing special. As a book about differences between what is on the inside and what is on the outside, better (4 stars).
LibraryThing member rachel.mcconville
The Red crayon doesn't see himself as red, he believes he is truly blue. The other crayons don't understand at first, then slowly come to accept him.
LibraryThing member Miriahharrison
I loved this book. It talks about how the red crayon think he is blue. His teacher tried to help him become red but he fails. His mother tried to help him by sending him on a play date but red is miserable and he cant be red. Its a super cute story and also talks about color mixing throughout the story.
LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
Red is the name on his label, but this crayon is decidedly not red. All the other crayons and art supplies try to be helpful by telling him things along the vein of try harder, apply yourself, etc. Nevertheless, his artworks never come out the right way -- red. Finally, a new friend comes along who encourages him to try something different and, lo and behold, being blue is so much easier and natural!

This was a delightful and, dare I say it, adorable picture book. The title popped up on a suggested reading list for LGBT kids and families and while I definitely see the applicability there, it is just a good book for talking about differences and being true to oneself on any level. I highly recommend it.
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LibraryThing member Jcadd13
Red is a book that follows the journey of a young crayon who is wrapped in a red crayon wrapper but is really blue on the inside. His teaches, family, and friends all think he just needs to try harder, practice more, or mix with different colors to get better at being red. What they do not realize is that he is not red at all, instead he is blue. Once everyone realizes he is blue and not red they are able to understand why he is the way he is. This book is a modern fantasy.… (more)
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Although he worked hard and tried the best he could, Red just wasn't very successful as a crayon. He couldn't seem to live up to his label, always producing blue instead of red. Everyone had an opinion as to where the trouble lay, and what to do to fix it, but nothing seemed to help. The one day Berry came along and asked him to create a blue ocean. Finally, our crayon hero found something he could do, leading him to a better understanding of who he really was...

The third title I have read recently from author/artist Michael Hall, following upon Wonderfall and Frankencrayon, Red: A Crayons's Story taps into the recent fascination with crayons as picture-book heroes - see also: Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers' The Day the Crayons Quit, and its sequel - and offers an interesting exploration of issues of identity and social expectation. Although not explicitly addressed to any specific issue, I can see the narrative here working as a first exploration/explanation of something like transgender identity, or perhaps gender non-conformity. Because it only obliquely addresses such themes, it reminds me a bit of the Spanish picture-book, Bow-Wow-Meow, by Blanca Lacasa, which depicts a dog who enjoys cat activities. The artwork here, as in Hall's other books, is bold and colorful, with all of the crayon scribbles one would expect, given the story-line. Recommended to anyone looking for stories about individuals who (for whatever reason) don't seem to fit the role which society has allotted them.
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LibraryThing member Jahnavee
About a Red crayon who was actually a blue crayon. Before the crayon, or those around him, realized he wasn't a red crayon he had a lot of trouble fitting in. His label was getting in the way of who he really was.
LibraryThing member Sgill17
This is a book about a crayon with a red label, but can't draw anything red. He gets excluded from the other crayons and other objects, like tape, try to "fix" him. In the end, he meets a new color crayon, who asks him to draw a blue ocean in the picture, which he does. Then, he starts drawing all sorts of blue things! Everyone loves what he can do in blue.… (more)
LibraryThing member klamproe
This is the story of a crayon who was labeled red at the factory but he was never good at being red. Everyone had a theory as to why he was so bad at being red and they all tried to help but nothing worked. one day someone asked him to draw an ocean and as it turned out the crayon was blue all along.
LibraryThing member mortloff
A great story about staying true to who you are, and not trying to fit into the boxes that have been assigned to you.
LibraryThing member jessiechan
Everyone tries to help Red be red, bur he can't no matter how hard he tries. With the help of a friend, Red realizes what we knew all along, that he is blue!
LibraryThing member uufnn
This book is about being mislabelled. A blue crayon somehow gets a red label and everyone expects that crayon to make red things, but no matter how much advice they get and how hard they try, everything they make turns out blue. It's such a relief when the Berry crayon asks them to make an ocean..
LibraryThing member childrenslitpdx
Red: A Crayon's Story is about a young crayon named Red who is trying to find out who he is. All the other crayons and office supplies are trying to fix Red because he doesn't quite know how to color typically red items red - they keep coming out blue! This makes Red sad and doubt himself. It isn't until a new friend asks Red to draw her an ocean for her new ship, that Red finds the courage and self esteem to start coloring items that show off his real color - blue!… (more)
LibraryThing member wichitafriendsschool
Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let's draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can't be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He's blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone.… (more)
LibraryThing member caliesunshine
In Red a crayons story, the focus is on the outside of the crayon. The crayon says red, but inside he's really blue. HIs friends all try to help him. He is excellent in everything he draws, but he just cannot draw red. One day a friend asks him to draw a blue ocean. He say's he can't, he's red. She encourages him to try. He does and it is the best ocean! He realized that he is BLUE, not red!… (more)
LibraryThing member SabraR
This story is about a crayon that is labeled as red but is only coloring in blue. The red crayon is confused and feels like something is wrong with him. Other crayons try to help him by trying to fix him but it doesn't work. The red crayon starts to feel sad and hopeless but soon he meets the berry crayon and it asks him to draw a ocean. The read crayon is confused because his label says red so how could he draw an ocean. But he tired and he realized he was blue, not red! He realized his difference is a good things and he can help other crayons with their drawings. This is a good fantasy book because the book uses crayons as people to talk about being different and how it is okay to be different.… (more)
LibraryThing member AlbertPascal
Red is searching for his identity in a world that defines him differently. This is a big story playfully disguised in a little story. It's fun and original and silly, and deeper underneath there's a more powerful message to people to always follow their heart and their true self.

This would be a fun read-aloud book where kids play the roles of the different colors. Acting and dramatization of voices should be encouraged. It could be a lot of fun! (I think this is called "reader's theatre".)… (more)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

40 p.; 8.25 inches


0062252070 / 9780062252074

Local notes

Voices for Trans Youth Rainbow Reading List book


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