One of my twins brought home the best book from his recent Kindergarten field trip to the public library. “Red: A crayon’s story” by Michael Hall looked so cute with its bright, colorful illustrations and simple text on each page.
As we opened it to begin reading it together, I noticed that the red crayon was really a blue crayon wearing a red label, and we immediately find out that “Red” wasn’t very good at being a red crayon because everything he draws is blue. Red’s fire truck, ant, and strawberries all turn out blue. As the story continues, we see all of the other crayons and office supplies offering their opinion on what the problem was, and what Red should do in order to be blue. His teacher thinks he needs more practice, his mom wants him to mix with other colors to produce red, the fuchsia crayon doesn’t think he is very bright, and the grape crayon accuses him of being lazy. The masking tape thought he must be broken inside and tried to piece him together.
Thankfully, the berry crayon comes along before I started sniffling during bedtime story time. Berry had drawn a big boat and asked Red if he could make a blue ocean for it. Red declined saying, “I can’t. I’m red.” But Berry encouraged, and Red drew a perfect blue ocean. Red was so pleased, he went on to draw all sorts of blue things, and all the crayons were talking about it. The book ends with Red drawing a big, blue sky and embracing his true color.
What a beautiful metaphor for seeing beyond a label and finding the courage to be true to who you are. Despite the author’s own struggles with being labeled, he says,
“I believe that most of the damage we do to each other is the result of ignorance rather than cruelty.”
We all have a place in this world, and the best labels would be those of kindness, courage, and love.
(Images courtesy of Michael Hall)
Dr. Joy Musser, Ph.D. CCC-SLP is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist by the state of New York and holds her national certificate with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She holds a doctoral degree from the University of Cincinnati and has over 18 years of clinical experience. Musser Therapies, LLC and Musser Voice were formed in 2010 with the goal to provide quality voice therapy. Dr. Musser specializes in voice feminization for the transfemale population via telepractice. In addition, she teaches voice disorders and related course work online for several universities across the country.