I was very excited to receive my copy of a recently published book by Michael Hall. It is called Red: A Crayon's Story. It is a story of a blue crayon that was put in a red wrapper, and how its family, friends, teachers, and society at large, tells it that it should be red. It just isn't trying hard enough.
Of course, a blue crayon can't be red, so it feels like a failure and a fraud and a disappointment. But one day, a friend recognizes the color the crayon really is, and its life changes forever.
It's a pretty deep story about identity, and can be used as a springboard for all different types of conversations. I imagine children who are either transgender, or who have transgender people in their lives, would find this a very encouraging book. Or children who everyone has pegged as a future scientist, or future doctor - do they feel like they are disappointing people because they see themselves as something else?
We talked at some length about this book, and several children said things like, "you can't judge a book by its cover", and "who you are on the inside isn't always obvious". We closed our eyes, and imagined what we really are in our secret insides, and what color would represent that. I challenged the children to pick just ONE color to do their self portrait. After, I asked them why they chose the color they did. Some children gave answers like, "I am black inside because I'm a spy", or "I'm gold because I like it", and some gave deeper answers like, "I'm blackish-blue because I'm open and wide like the sea".
What color are you?