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Red: A Crayon's Story

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A blue crayon mistakenly labeled as "red" suffers an identity crisis in the new picture book by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo and It's an Orange Aardvark! Funny, insightful, and colorful, Red: A Crayon's Story, by Michael Hall, is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way. Red will appeal to fans of Lois Ehlert, Eric Carle, and The Day the Crayons Quit, and makes a great gift for readers of any age!

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!

40 pages, Hardcover

First published February 3, 2015

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About the author

Michael Hall

16 books92 followers
Michael Hall is the author/illustrator of The New York Times bestseller, My Heart Is Like a Zoo, as well as the critically acclaimed Perfect Square, It’s an Orange Aardvark, Red: A Crayon’s Story, and Frankencrayon.

Before becoming a children’s author, Michael was an award-winning graphic designer whose work — including graphic identities for the City of Saint Paul, Macalester College, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the Hennepin County Medical Center — has been widely recognized for its simple and engaging approach.

Michael lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,338 reviews
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,050 reviews1,831 followers
October 29, 2021
This book for children about being transgender, is

Wait, what? I thought this was about crayons.

Yes. A blue crayon with a red label. A crayon that "presents" as red but colors blue and leaves everyone confused and baffled.

I mean, no matter what Red tries to do, he colors blue. That's just him. He's blue. Even though he's in a red label. However, neither him nor any of his friends and family can understand this.

His teacher thought he needed more practice.

She encourages him to draw strawberries, but of course they turn out blue. She's shocked, but encourages him to try again. Perhaps next time he can get it right.

His mother thought he needed to mix with other colors.

She brings Yellow over and coos, "Why don't you two go out and draw a nice, round orange."

Red agrees enthusiastically, wanting to please his mom and hoping beyond hope this will work.

However, needless to say, him mixing with Yellow doesn't make an orange, it makes a big greenish ball. (Because Red is really blue.) This prompts Yellow to say, "Yuck." reinforcing Red's idea that there's something wrong with him and that he's basically disgusting as a person.

His grandparents thought he wasn't warm enough.

They give him a red scarf to keep warm and look more "red." You know, like he's supposed to be. Red. But when Red draws a class portrait for school, of course the whole thing (him AND his scarf) are blue. His grandparents are shocked.

Everyone seemed to have something to say.

AMBER: "Sometimes I wonder if he's really red at all."

HAZELNUT: "Don't be silly. It says red on his label."

COCOA BEAN: "He came that way from the factory."

FUCHSIA: "Frankly, I don't think he's very bright."

GRAPE: "Well, I think he's lazy."

ARMY GREEN: "Right! He's got to press harder."

STEEL GRAY: "Really apply himself!"

SUNSHINE: "Give him time. He'll catch on."

SEA GREEN: "Of course he will."

Now, whether these people are being "kind" or "tough" on our "misbehaving" schoolboy, what they are failing to see (but what children will clearly see) is that the crayon is simply mislabeled. It's a blue crayon. It's blue. It doesn't matter that it's label says, "Red" - that doesn't change the fact that the crayon is a blue crayon and can't possibly be anything else no matter how "hard" he tries.

All Red's friends try to "help" him. Masking Tape tapes him. Scissors cuts his label a tiny bit. Pencil Sharpener sharpens him. However, obviously none of these actions change the blue crayon to a red one.

Red works and works and works and fights and fights and fights being blue. Much as our society and our religions encourage transgender people to "fight their sin" and "fight their nature" and "work hard to correct yourself" and "fit in." Needless to say, this doesn't do Red the least bit of good.

One day, he met a new friend.

BERRY: "Will you make a blue ocean for my boat?"

RED: "I can't. I'm red."

BERRY: "Will you try?"

So he did.

BERRY: "Thank you! It's perfect!"

RED: "You're welcome. It was easy!"

And he didn't stop there.

Suddenly, Red can't stop drawing! He gleefully draws bluebells, blue jeans, blue birds, bluberries, and even a giant blue whale.

"I'm blue!" He screams joyfully!!!!! Somebody's finally seen through all the labels and the bullshit and has freed Red from the prison he's been in.

He was red blue.

And everyone was talking.

OLIVE: "My son is brilliant!"

AMBER: "Who could have known he was blue?"

HAZELNUT: "I always said he was blue."

COCOA BEAN: "It was obvious!"

BERRY: "His blue ocean really lifted me."

SEA GREEN: "All of his work makes me happy."

BROWN: "His blue strawberries are my favorites."

APPLE GREEN: "He's so intense."

YELLOW: "I'm going to make a green lizard with him. A really big one."

GRAY: "I hear he's working on a huge project."

SCARLET: "He's really reaching for the sky."

Now, I think we - as adults - can realize that this is not the way it would play out in real life. All these people are accepting and celebratory upon hearing the news that Red is blue inside. They don't disown him, hate him, judge him, beat him, spit on him, murder him, rape him, or drive him to suicide. However, I'm sure we can all agree that that would be a pretty depressing children's book. Perhaps the author is trying to create a world in which people don't have such a violent, angry, and terrified view of transgendered individuals as they do today. We can only hope. I've seen great strides just in the last 10 years, so there is a possibility things will be as idealistic as this book makes out one day.

NOTE: Children aren't going to know this is about transgender people. I've seen this book make adults weep openly, but children aren't going to get that. Instead, the child will be delighted when - imbued with a God-like power - he or she can see straight into the true core of the individual: he's a blue crayon in a red label.

I notice that the book doesn't try to "re-label" Red. He starts off as blue in a red label, he ends as blue in a in a red label - just one who is self-aware and happy, now. There's no move to strip him of his red label and put a blue one on him. This is important, I think. If Red later chooses to wear a blue label instead of a red one, that will be his choice.

I think it's important to read this book to children, but you might want to gauge how much you strip away the thin veneer of color and explicitly make it about transgendered people. It's up to you, it is your choice, based on your child and what you think your child can handle.

I'm also unclear as to where religion falls in this. Is the book saying that "God" (the factory) make a mistake in labeling Red? Or is Red extra-special, unique and brilliant for being someone who has a red label but a blue "soul?" Of course, if you are raising your child in the Christian faith (just my two cents here) the most important thing is to teach compassion, mercy and love. None of this soul-destroying 'love the person, hate the 'sin'' trash ('sin' is in quotes because even thinking that word in regards to transgender people makes my blood boil) that is so common now. I think it's clear in the book that Red's family and friends love him and care about him, and when it becomes obvious to them that Red is blue, they rejoice in his specialness and his unique gifts. They love Red, they want him to be happy, they cheer and rejoice when their friend is free and happily expressing his true self. That is love. That is the true nature of Christianity (IMO).

Why are we talking about religion and Christianity, Carmen?

Yeah... I know. I'm sorry, but I can't help but think (when I think about the transgender people I know) that religion is A1 when it comes to excusing hatred, violence and terror as a reaction to someone who is not meeting gender norms. I think it's super-important to realize that Christianity should be, at its core, about love, acceptance and community. When my father said about someone, "He did the Christian thing," my father was ALWAYS talking about being merciful, compassionate and loving. Never in my household was hate or cruelty held up as good examples of being a worshiper of Christ, and it really saddens me to see that about 90% of Christianity today is used to make people feel like shit about themselves.

Are you even Christian?

No comment.

Are you even atheist?

No comment.

Do you even math, bro?


Then... what the hell are you talking about?

I'm talking about the fact that although the majority of people believe that being Christian involves being a judgmental asshole, it doesn't have to be that way.

Anyway, I'm getting off-topic.

Tl;dr - Children aren't going to "get this." I think it's important to teach this message to children (be true to yourself, your inner self is beautiful and special) but they are NOT going to get that it's about transgender people unless you explicitly tell them. In a way, this book is more for adults than for children. However, I think it's a good and important book. Doubly so if your child has a little transgender friend in his/her class. In that case, please spell it out for them.

Even without the knowledge of what 'transgender' is, children will delight in their ability to clearly see what all the foolish and misguided crayons can't see - the obvious fact that Red is a blue crayon. You can talk about how clothes don't make the man, how it's important not to judge people on their appearances. You could use it to illustrate gender roles or to express the importance of celebrating a person's true gifts (even if that gift doesn't "fit" with a person's physical appearance - think of Binky Barnes being an accomplished ballet dancer on Arthur). There's so much to talk about here without talking about being transgender, but this book IS without a doubt about transgender people.

Why did the factory 'mislabel' Red? OR DID IT? (dum dum DUM)

Why were the other crayons so confused and baffled on how to 'handle' or 'teach' Red when they were blind to his true color?

Why do crayons even NEED labels at all? Do they? What purpose do labels serve? What if all the crayons just ripped off their labels and ran around naked? Would that be a good idea or a bad idea? Why?

This is a rare book that clearly has a message but isn't preachy. You can completely ignore all issues and just read it as a straight-up children's book that's simply about crayons if you want. No one's going to force you to talk to your kid about gender identity if you don't want to. I've read this to many Catholic schoolkids without a peep about transgender issues. It's a good book with a good message no matter what, you need to decide based on your audience whether to broach the transgender discussion or not.

Read it, enjoy it, and take from it whatever you want. :)

Ages 0-6. However, there is no upper age limit if you are using this as a tool to teach someone about gender identity. It can work wonderfully to illustrate this concept even to adults.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,911 reviews35.3k followers
October 24, 2019
Introduces empathy...teaches diversity...proud to be you...proud to be me.
**Love**: [acceptance of self & others] ....
Creative > many ways to interpret - A love book for little and big readers - encourages discussions!
Profile Image for Betsy.
Author 8 books2,709 followers
March 30, 2015
Almost since their very conception children’s books were meant to teach and inform on the one hand, and to inform one's moral fiber on the other. Why who can forget that catchy little 1730 ditty from The Childe’s Guide that read, “The idle Fool / Is whipt at School”? It’s got a beat and you can dance to it! And as the centuries have passed children’s books continue to teach and instruct. Peter Rabbit takes an illicit nosh and loses his fancy duds. Pinocchio stretches the truth a little and ends up with a prominent proboscis. Even parents who are sure to fill their shelves with the subversive naughtiness of Max, David, and Eloise are still inclined to indulge in a bit of subterfuge bibliotherapy when their little darling starts biting / hitting / swearing at the neighbors. Instruction, however, is a terribly difficult thing to do in a children’s book. It takes skill and a gentle hand. When Sophie Gets Angry . . . Really Really Angry works because the point of the book is couched in beautiful, lively, eye-popping art, and a story that shows rather than tells. But for every Sophie there are a hundred didactic tracts that some poor child somewhere is being forced to swallow dry. What a relief then to run across Red: A Crayon’s Story. It’s making a point, no doubt about it. But that point is made with a gentle hand and an interesting story, giving the reader the not unpleasant sensation that even if they didn’t get the point of the tale on a first reading, something about the book has seeped deep into their very core. Clever and wry, Hall dips a toe into moral waters and comes out swimming. Sublime.

“He was red. But he wasn’t very good at it.” When a blue crayon in a wrapper labeled “Red” finds himself failing over and over again, everyone around him has an opinion on the matter. Maybe he needs to mix with the other kids more (only, when he does his orange turns out to be green instead). Maybe he just needs more practice. Maybe his wrapper’s not tight enough. Maybe it’s TOO tight. Maybe he’s got to press harder or be sharper. It really isn’t until a new crayon asks him to paint a blue sea that he comes to the shocking realization. In spite of what his wrapper might say, he isn’t red at all. He’s blue! And once that’s clear, everything else falls into place.

A school librarian friend of mine discussed this book with some school age children not too long ago. According to her, their conversation got into some interesting territory. Amongst themselves they questioned why the crayon got the reaction that he did. One kid said it was the fault of the factory that had labeled him. Another kid countered that no, it was the fault of the other crayons for not accepting him from the start. And then one kid wondered why the crayon needed a label in the first place. Now I don’t want to go about pointing out the obvious here but basically these kids figured out the whole book and rendered this review, for all intents and purposes, moot. They got the book. They understand the book. They should be the ones presenting the book.

Because you see when I first encountered this story I applied my very very adult (and very very limited) interpretation to it. A first read and I was convinced that it was a transgender coming-of-age narrative except with, y’know, waxy drawing materials. And I’m not saying that isn’t a legitimate way to read the book, but it’s also a very limited reading. I mean, let’s face it. If Mr. Hall had meant to book to be JUST about transgender kids, wouldn’t it have been a blue crayon in a pink wrapper? No, Hall’s story is applicable to a wide range of people who find themselves incorrectly “labeled”. The ones who are told that they’re just not trying hard enough, even when it’s clear that the usual rules don’t apply. We’ve all known someone like that in our lives before. Sometimes they’re lucky in the way that Red here is lucky and they meet someone who helps to show them the way. Sometimes they help themselves. And sometimes there is no help and the story takes a much sadder turn. I think of those kids, and then I read the ending of “Red” again. It doesn’t help their situation much, but it makes me feel better.

This isn’t my first time on the Michael Hall rodeo, by the way. I liked My Heart Is Like a Zoo, enjoyed Perfect Square, took to Cat Tale, and noted It's an Orange Aardvark It’s funny, but in a way, these all felt like a prelude to Red. As with those books, Hall pays his customary attention to color and shape. Like Perfect Square he even mucks with our understood definitions. But while those books were all pleasing to the eye, Red makes a sudden lunge for hearts and minds as well. That it succeeds is certainly worth noting.

Now when I was a kid, I ascribed to inanimate objects a peculiar level of anthropomorphizing. A solo game of war turned a deck of cards into a high stakes emotional journey worthy of a telenovela. And crayons? Crayons had their own lives as well. There were a lot of betrayals and broken hearts in my little yellow box. Hall eschews this level of crayon obsession, but in his art I noticed that he spends a great deal of time understanding what a crayon’s existence might entail if they were allowed families and full lives. I loved watching how the points on the crayons would dull or how some crayons were used entirely on a slant, due to the way they colored. I liked how the shorter you are, the older you are (a concept that basically turned my 3-year-old’s world upside down when she tried to comprehend it). I liked how everything that happens to Red stays with him throughout the book. If his wrapper is cut or he’s taped together, that snip and tape stay with him to the end. The result is that by the time he’s figured out his place in the world (and shouldn’t we all be so lucky) he bears the physical cuts and scars that show he’s had a long, hard journey getting to self-acceptance. No mean feat for a book that primarily utilizes just crayon drawings and cut paper, digitally combined.

Not everyone thinks, as I do, that Mr. Hall’s effort is successful. I’ve encountered at least one librarian who told me straight out that she found the book “preachy”. I can see why she’d say that. I mean, it does wear its message on its sleeve. Yet for all that it has a purpose I can’t call it purposeful. What Hall has done so well here is to take a universal story and tell it with objects that almost every reader approaching this book will already be familiar with. These crayons don’t have faces or arms or mouths. They look like the crayons you encounter all the time, yet they live lives that may be both familiar and unfamiliar to readers. And in telling a very simple fish-out-of-water story, it actually manages to make kids think about what the story is actually trying to say. It makes readers work for its point. This isn’t bibliotherapy. It’s bibliodecoding. And when they figure out what’s going on, they get just as much out of it as you might hope. A rare, wonderful title that truly has its child audience in mind. Respectful.

For ages 3 and up.
Profile Image for LaDonna.
174 reviews2,452 followers
December 31, 2019
Wow!! What a timely and wonderful message!!

When I first saw this book, I thought it was going to be along the lines of The Day the Crayons Quit. Boy, was I wrong! More importantly, I was pleasantly surprised. I do not want to ruin this for anyone, but Red: A Crayon's Story has nothing to do with crayons and colors. Michael Hall weaves a story about acceptance and the importance of being who you are. Hall speaks to the necessity of not forcing an individual to conform to some abitrary standard. Each of us should be who we are. And, those who come within that sphere should encourage that respective truth.

Regardless of your age, everyone should read this book!
Profile Image for Archit.
824 reviews3,226 followers
August 16, 2017
Many a times we start believing what others tell us, without giving it a thought that they can be wrong. Their suggestions can be wrong and they might be advising it unintentionally. Because most of the advice are generalized. It may or may not hold true for everyone.

Red : A Crayon's Story teaches the value of encouraging others. Because you never know how and who can do what wonders!
Profile Image for Jen.
76 reviews6 followers
June 25, 2015
I suppose this review has spoilers...if a picture book can have spoilers...

On the surface it's a heartwarming story about a crayon whose label says "red" but is really blue.

Dig a little deeper and it's a story about being true to yourself and learning who you are.

Let's go one more level, and I don't know if this is how it was intended by the author or not but this is how I instantly saw the book before I even opened the cover: This is a book about/for kids struggling with gender identity. As a librarian I see the subject headings that it's given and "identity (psychology)" is one, but of course it couldn't say "gender identity" because crayons don't have genders.

His whole life he was told he was red. "It says red on his label." "He came that way from the factory." AKA. He was make red, therefore he must be red. His label couldn't be a mistake and he's really a different color inside. (READ: He was born a boy. His physical appearance couldn't possibly be a mistake and he's really a girl inside) His family and friends try to fix him with tape, and scarves, and encouragement to really try at being red "draw a red strawberry" "Why don't you two go our and draw a nice, round orange?". He tries, but he just can't be red and draw red things...because he's BLUE.

I swear I could sense this crayon's depression progress each time he failed at drawing something red. I actually thought "OMG he's going to throw himself in the crayon sharpener or something! Wait that can't happen, it's a kid's book." Because no one ever said "Look! His strawberries are blue, he must be blue!" Just like so many people don't say "Look he loves dresses, and growing his hair long, and maybe he's actually a girl."

But his new friend Berry saves the day by asking him to draw an ocean and suddenly people realize he isn't red after all. I wanted to cheer for joy over this little mislabeled crayon who had found himself.
Profile Image for Sara Grochowski.
1,142 reviews567 followers
January 12, 2015
In this new picture book from Michael Hall, one crayon has spent his whole life believing he’s red, until the day a new friend allows him to see beyond his label and realize he’s been blue all along. This book looks deceptively simple, but, underneath the cover, readers young and old will find an inspiring story about joy of being true to oneself. I want to hand this book to everyone who walks through the door.
Profile Image for Emily.
187 reviews21 followers
April 16, 2015
“He was red…but he wasn’t very good at it.” So begins this beautiful, moving story about a blue crayon that’s been labeled “red” due to a factory mistake. Unable to see beyond his red label, the other crayons and art supplies keep expecting and demanding certain things of him, but no matter how hard he tries to match the label assigned him, the crayon simply can’t be—and isn’t, and never will be—red.

Everyone has something to say about the crayon:
‘Sometimes I wonder if he’s really red at all.’
‘Don’t be silly. It says red on his label.’
‘Right! He’s got to press harder.’”

Then a new crayon friend comes along that sees, accepts, and appreciates the crayon’s blueness, and the crayon finally understands who he is and embraces it, declaring “I’m blue!”

I have never read a better book for young transgendered kids--though the book is not specifically geared to them. It's about labels, and difference, and people's expectations, and not meeting them, and not fitting in, and realizing one's gifts, and more. I'd put this on every kid's bookshelf.

[I appreciated, too, that Hall didn't stick to primary and secondary colors with the other crayons. There are olive, steel gray, amber, cocoa bean, etc. "characters"]
August 18, 2021
عالی! عالی! عالی! عالی!
فکر نمی‌کنم روزی بیاد که کتاب‌های کودک دیگه شگفت‌زده‌م نکنن. مهم‌ترین مفاهیم، ساده‌ترین جملات. به به. به به.
Profile Image for محمد شکری.
171 reviews132 followers
October 23, 2021
ترجمه فارسی این کتاب پیشتر به فارسی برگردانده شده و توسط نشر پرتقال چاپ شده‌است
این جلد (که شاید بتوان نامش را گذاشت داستان مدادشمعی «قرمز») نیز یکی از همین مجموعه‌هاست. داستان مدادشمعی آبی‌ای که توسط کارخانه با برچسب «قرمز» به جعبه مدادشمعی‌ها اضافه شده و همه بر اساس همین برچسب از او انتظار دارند قرمز باشد. ولی او نمی‌تواند! راه‌حل‌ها، تمرین‌ها، پیشنهادها، سرزنش‌ها و غیبت‌ها هیچ یک کمکی به او نمی‌کند، تا اینکه یک روز یکی از مدادشمعی‌ها از او می‌خواهد که برای قایقی که کشیده دریای آبی اضافه کند. مدادشمعی ابتدا نمی‌پذیرد چون خودش هم باور کرده یک قرمز (بد) است. اما در مقابل اصرار آن دوست تازه خودش را پیدا می‌کند
نشر پرتقال ظاهرا این کتاب را به «دریا قرمز نیست» ترجمه کرده، اما به نظر معلوم است چرا این ترجمه چندان دقیق نیست: داستان درباره فهم اشتباه از ماهیت چیزها (دریا) نیست، بلکه درباره فهم اشتباه از هویت انسان‌هاست؛ اشتباهی که ناشی از کلیشه‌ها و برچسب‌های تحمیلی است

پ.ن: داستان‌های کودک زیادی با بهار خوانده‌ام که اکثرا بسیار هم زیبا بوده‌اند. از امروز تصمیم گرفتم به معرفی این داستا‌ن‌ها (داستان کودک) هم بپردازم: بیشتر برای اینکه کتاب‌های خوب از یاد خودم نرود. اما امیدوارم برای برخی از شما هم جالب باشد. از آنجا که داستان کودک آگاهانه و با اطلاع از محتوا برای کودکان تهیه می‌شود لطفا انتظار نداشته باشید که محتوای داستان‌ها را لو ندهم :) ر
Profile Image for Marwa.
160 reviews464 followers
February 12, 2019
"أحمر" هو قلم وُضع عليه ملصق يفيد أنه أحمر، ولكن القلم المسكين يفشل دائماً في أن يكون أحمراً، كلما حاول، لا ينفك لونه أن يكون أزرقاً.

تحاول معه معلمته ليتدرب أكثر: "هيا ارسم فراولات حمراء"، ولكنه يرسمها زرقاء.

تحاول والدته أن تجعله يختلط مع قرينه الأصفر، ولكن النتيجة تكون لوناً أخضراً بدلا من اللون البرتقالي المنشود.

تبدأ محاولات الجميع لجعله أفضل حالا، الجد والجدة، صديقه المقص، والمبراة، ولكن لا فائدة.

يصم�� البعض بالكسل لأنه لا يتدرب بما يكفي، يصمونه بالغباء، وعندما شك أحدهم في كونه أحمرا، رد عليه آخر أنه لابد أنه كذلك، لأن الملصق عليه من المصنع يقول أنه أحمر.

وفي يوم طلب أحد أصدقاء أحمر أن يرسم محيطا أزرقا لسفينته، عرف أحمر حينها أنه أزرق، وعرف الجميع أنه كذلك وفرحوا لأجله.

القصة كما نرى ليست وعظية مباشرة، وهذا أجمل ما فيها.

يعاني مايكل مؤلف هذه القصة من عسر القراءة. كان هذا الأمر جحيما له عندما كان طفلاً، فقد وصم بالغباء لأنه لا يستطيع أن يقرأ بطلاقة كأقرانه. كان يتألم لذلك، تماما كما تألم أحمر الذي وضعوا عليه ملصقاً لا يناسبه، فأصبح يحاول جاه��ا أن يتبع هذا الملصق.
يقول مايكل: "كنت أنا وأحمر محظوظيْن لوجود مجتمع مساند، الجميع كان يحاول المساعدة لكنهم لم يبصروا سوى الملصق الخاطئ، وازدادت الأمور سوءا بمساعدتهم. أعتقد أننا نسبب الضرر للآخرين بسبب الجهل لا القسوة"

حتى الآن تبدو الأمور لطيفة وعادية، قصة أطفال كتبها مايكل لحث الناس على تقبل الآخر على إثر تجربته المؤلمة؛ لكن العجيب هو أنني تعرفت على هذه القصة ضمن ترشيحات جود ريدز كتب خاصة بمجتمع ال LGBT! وطبعاً في هذه القصة المقصودون هم المتحولون جنسياً - transsexuals
لا أخفي عليكم أنني كنت متحفزة أثناء قراءة القصة، حتى قرأت عن ظروف كتابتها من المؤلف نفسه. وكما رأينا لا علاقة لهذه الظروف من قريب أو من بعيد بالمتحولين جنسياً وتقبلهم.
ولكن سنلاحظ في كثير من المراجعات أن الكبار الذين قرأوا القصة أوّلوها على هذا النحو، فأحمر بالنسبة لهم هو الولد أو الفتاة الذي/التي ولد في جسم مغاير للجنس الذي يشعر بانتمائه له، أو كما يقولون:
Assigned wrong sex at birth

ويظل يعاني بسبب جسمه المغاير (هو هنا الملصق) الذي حبس فيه. القصة من هذا المنظور توعية للأطفال والكبار لتقبل هذا الآخر وعدم معاملته كولد أو فتاة لمجرد أنه ولد كذلك.
من ضمن هذه المعاملة الواعية أن ينادوه بالضمائر التي يفضلها، وأن يسمحوا له بارتداء الملابس التي يريدها (كأن يلبس الولد فستانا)، وأن يتقبلوا دخوله الحمام الذي يريد، فلا بأس من ارتياد الصبية حمامات الفتيات لأنهم يشعرون أنهم فتيات أو العكس.

كان المتحولون جنسياً منذ عدة سنوات فئة تطالب فقط بحق الاعتراف بوجودها، أما الآن فقد تغولوا وتغلغلوا في المجتمعات الغربية خاصة أمريكا وكندا وبريطانيا. أصبحت القوانين تسن لحمايتهم، من ضمنها قوانين تمنع محادثتهم بما يكرهون.

في واقعة قريبة اقتادت الشرطة سيدة تدعى مسز سكوتو للحجز أمام إطفالها لأنها نعتت رجلاً تحول إلى امرأة على تويتر بأنه "رجل"، وصادرت الشرطة تليفونها وحاسوبها لأنها وجدت أن السيدة قد تحرشت لفظيا بميس ستيفاني هايدن (الاسم الذي اختاره الرجل لنفسه بعد التحول).
عندما أنكرت سكوتو أنها وجهت أي عبارات مسيئة وأنها لا تؤمن أنه يمكن عمليا أن يتغير جنس الرجل ليصبح امرأة كاملة؛ حكم القاضي بمنع مسز سكوتو من استخدام ألفاظاً لا تتناسب مع هوية الآنسة هايدن الجديدة، وبعد شهرين من هذا الحكم لم تتسلم سكوتو متعلقاتها مما أعاق دراستها للماجستير.

أصبح للمتحولين جماعات ضغط، وأذرع سياسية وقضائية، حتى قصص الأطفال البريئة التي تتحدث عن قبول الآخر، لم تسلم منهم، وأوّلولها على أنها تحث على تقبل خيالهم المريض.
Profile Image for Tayebe Ej.
172 reviews32 followers
October 1, 2022
کتاب برای موضوع هویت، شناخت خود، عزت نفس و پذیرش تفاوتها مناسبه.
مناسب ۴ تا ۹ سال

پ.ن: میشه داستان رو جوری نگاه کرد که درباره gender identity هم باشه ولی جایی ندیدم به عنوان موضوع اصلی کتاب مطرح شده باشه
Profile Image for David.
558 reviews130 followers
February 14, 2023
Fantastic, easy 5. Growing up, the Blue Crayon in the Red wrapper is encouraged to do things that other red-wrapped crayons typically are asked to do. But:
I wonder if he's really red at all.
He came that way from the factory.
I don't think he's very bright.
I think he's lazy.
Give him time. He'll catch on.

Then crayon meets boat:
B: Will you make a blue ocean for my boat?
C: I can't I'm Red.
B: Will you try?

So he did.

Hey! All those 'helpful' comments earlier are now singing:
My son is brilliant!
Who could have known he was blue?
It was obvious.
His blue strawberries are my favorites.

This book can work for ANYONE who is 'different'.

And since it never says "Trans", all libraries are legally allowed to have it!!
Profile Image for Megan.
731 reviews15 followers
January 26, 2016
My 8-year old and I reserved all of the Caldecott contenders for 2015 from the library so that we could have some time enjoying and ranking them before the official winners were announced.
I think this book was an effort to capitalize on the enormous success of the book, "The Day The Crayons Quit." Red is another crayon story, illustrated in crayon drawings, cut paper, and the digital manipulation of the two.
The story line is about a blue crayon, who is factory labeled with a red label. No matter how hard he tries to do his best, he cannot seem to do anything right; his red drawings always end up blue. There is a whole peanut gallery of crayons that comment on his problems "He's got to press harder." "I think he's lazy." "I don't think he's very bright." "I wonder if he's really red at all--don't be silly. it says red on his label.. He came that way from the factory."
The other art supplies try to help him--the scissors thought his label was too tight and snipped it. The making tape thought he was broken inside and taped him to help hold him together. The sharpener thought he wasn't sharp enough. With the help of a friend, he owns his "blueness" and disregards his factory label and finally he feels free and happy. Now the crayon peanut gallery says things like, "Who could have known he was blue?" "I always said he was blue" "It was obvious"
L gave this story a 4 for the text and a 2 for the pictures.
I give it a 1 for the story and a 4 for the pictures. I felt like there was an undertone that pointed to transgender people. And the fact that this theme was so strong in a children's book creeped me out. I wasn't the only one that came away with that impression. Any other adult that read it felt like it was a bit heavy handed that direction.
Not a contender. Not a favorite.
Profile Image for Katt Hansen.
3,328 reviews95 followers
January 31, 2022
A good book about being true to yourself. A mislabeled crayon tries to fit in. What I loved was how none of the other crayons seemed able to see what was right in front of their eyes - that regardless of everything that was tried, Red colored blue. I think there are children that will definitely see themselves in this book - and more importantly will see those who are different around them and accept them for who they ARE, not as they should be. This book has a lot of applications - be it regarding neurodiversity, physical difficulty, or a host of other topics. This is one I definitely am sharing with my children, and hope to have a good conversation about afterwards.

Note: Just read this again, six years later, and now with the understanding of having a trans child. I really am glad for this book, and for the discussion it led to today about how well it's written and how good it makes my child feel that there are books like this in the world. Well don, Michael Hall
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
420 reviews79 followers
March 11, 2015
If this was a story about being true to yourself, I wouldn't have a problem with it but the writer's purpose is so in-your-face that I would not share this with a child. I'm not judging others, this is my just personal opinion.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
November 8, 2015
The whole family will read all these Goodreads Children's Illustrated book nominees for 2015 and rate all of them.

This is colorful, like The Day the Crayons Quit, or Eric Carle's colorful and simple stuff, with pretty simple art and a relatively simple and kinda preachy point to it all (if you are labelled red, you may in fact really be--born this way--blue), but it was fun and I thought cleverly written, and as to the didacticism, well. . .he calls it, cleverly, in the way of serious glbt memoirs, Red: A Crayon's Story, which I thought also pokes fun at the genre, too. Hall is a sharp and funny writer and isn't THAT preachy, come on. ..

I guess in this day and age it has to be seen as a transponder book, but I think it can be read for other identity issues, too. My fan really overall liked it, one of the best of the year.

Dave 4 stars
Tara 4.5 stars
Harry (10) 4.5 stars ("I loved it all the way through, until the ending, which should be a really good joke, but was not so great." Otherwise, I thought it was awesome."
Henry (9) 3.5
Lyra (8) 4.5 ("It really liked this one, with all the colors and the point it made.")
Profile Image for Mathew.
1,472 reviews171 followers
January 13, 2019
Red is a crayon unlike his peers. Whilst everyone around him is able to colour in with the title given to them be it: berry, olive, scarlet or brown, Red just keeps churning out blue. Those around him think they are being helpful, even the narrator, by encouraging him to keep trying or to persevere since it will come to him in the end. Red, however hard he tries though, keeps producing blue. It is only when a new friend comes along with an insight far greater than Blue's current family and friends, that the little crayon finally sees who he truly is.
Hall's art and language play is so smart in this book (loved the endpapers). The close observer will see that underneath his label that Blue was always blue and that no one could not see beyond the skin he was in. It's easy to see why people would interpret this as a book about transgender and I can see the parallels too yet it is also about anyone who is labelled to fit into society's norms and does not. A strikingly smart metaphor for our times.
Profile Image for Emkoshka.
1,659 reviews7 followers
April 5, 2016
If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would suggest that perhaps Crayola is secretly commissioning positive psychology picture books about crayons with identity issues to boost its sales. But then again, maybe it's just a coincidence that Drew Daywalt/Oliver Jeffers and Michael Hall are all writing/drawing about crayons in crisis, whether abandoned, lost or just plain confused by being mislabelled. The core message of this book is: be who you really are, not what the packaging says you should be. Perhaps it's an even more covert attempt to subvert heteronormativity by saying, 'If you're bi/trans/gay, it's okay'. Or perhaps that's just what I have on the brain because I'm reading a novel (The Borrower) about a librarian trying to shield a young gay boy from his parents' prejudices. Fictional character Ian Drake, you need to read this book!
234 reviews2 followers
January 2, 2015
How many times have you been told that if you just try a little harder? Work a little more? Do something everything will be fine. For Red the Crayon, it’s all he’s ever heard. After all, his label says “red”, therefore it’s his fault he can’t color in red. But what if it’s not? What if someone made a mistake? All it takes in one crayon asking him to color in blue for the truth to be revealed. Just one crayon is needed to really look at him and realize what the problem. Sometimes that’s all we need as well. This book is a timely lesson for all of us.
Profile Image for Diana.
1,475 reviews5 followers
September 19, 2016
This one is impossible to read at storytime due to too much of the dialogue coming from the different crayons. And conservative parents would not appreciate what is, very clearly, a tale of gender identity. Yes, I know it's about crayons, but I don't tend to read deeply into things, and this one screamed at me about the ulterior motive. Can't we just talk about crayons???
Profile Image for hal .
769 reviews109 followers
August 21, 2018
A positive message about learning to accept who you are instead of trying to be something you're not because everyone else tells you too. The illustrations are a little simplistic, and the dialogue might be confusing for little kids since there's no dialogue tags indicating who says what (the dialogue is just above the speaker). But over than that, I thought it was pretty cute.
Profile Image for میم صالحی فر.
261 reviews29 followers
September 30, 2022
من اول این کتاب رو دوست داشتم، چون به نظرم می خواست به کودک یاد بده که شاید تو هر چیزی که بقیه میگن و می خوان نباشی و خودت باید اون چیزی که هستی رو پیدا کنی هرچند این خلاف حرف و قضاوت بقیه باشه.
اما وقتی یک جستجویی در بین سایت هایی که این کتاب رو معرفی و پیشنهاد کرده بودن زدم، دیدم که اصلا یکی از مفاهیم اصلی کتاب پذیرش ترنس جندر هاست و باز کردن این دید برای بچه هاست!
دیگه قضاوت با خودتون!
چقدر تو جامعه ما نیاز به باز کردن این موضوع برای کودک هست؟!
و اگر کودکی هم مبتلا باشه چه درکی از شرایطش داره؟!
اگرم میگین خودم یجوری می خونم که ذهنش به اون سمت نره، به قول عزیزی، وقتی بزرگ شد و کتاب رو خودش خواند، چه می کنید با سوالاتش؟!...

Profile Image for Sara Fard.
75 reviews8 followers
November 19, 2021
یک وقتایی اونی که ازمون میخواستن باشیم نبودیم اما بجاش یچیز خوب دیگه بودیم
کاش همه مثل این مداد آبی کشف می‌شدیم
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,087 reviews181 followers
September 29, 2019
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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