Red - Michael Hall

He was red.

But he wasn't very good at it.

Red: A Crayon's Story follows the journey of a crayon whose outsides and insides don't match. Everyone thinks they know how to fix things, but in the end, it becomes obvious that acceptance is what's really needed for Red.

Thus begins the story of Red, a crayon whose label doesn't match who he really is. This book is narrated by a pencil, and features a cast of crayons who don't quite know what to do about Red, since he just doesn't fit in.

At first glance, it's a book about a blue crayon that just got mislabeled, but upon closer inspection, readers will see that the book is so much more! This is a narrative about difference, about why labels don't always work for individuals, and about how individuals need to learn to accept others for their uniqueness.

Readers will empathize with Red. They will see how many layers of meaning can be held within an initially simple tale. The use of color is also remarkable, with bright colors representing the younger individuals, and the darker colors representing older individuals (i.e. parents are an olive green, and grandparents are grey and silver.) The other part I love is that you can actually read a lot of queerness and transness and disability narratives into this book. I love that it's so open to interpretation based on its analysis of labels, misrepresentation, and difference.

In the end, Michael Hall has created a gorgeous and compelling narrative that really stands out in the world of Crayon narratives. This is a must-read, and I Highly Recommend it for children and adults.


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