Well done, author Michael Hall. I am impressed. Red: A Crayon’s Story takes the complicated subject of living authentically and successfully sums it up in a story about a mislabeled crayon who discovers the secret to a happy life. In this picture book targeted to preschoolers, he somehow addresses complex narratives in life that many adult books struggle to get across. The story covers the underlying message of love and acceptance so smoothly the reader doesn’t feel lectured to but instead is enthralled by the story of Red’s attempts to live true. With a handful of words, Red teaches us about:
- Fitting in
- Societal and familial expectations and pressure
- Resilience when dealing with things not going as planned
- Handling criticism
- The importance of friendship
Feeling like one doesn’t fit in is not unique or infrequent. Lots of children (and adults) experience this for one reason or another and can identify. It is hard for me to imagine a child not benefiting from reading Red: A Crayon’s Story…and it’s not a bad idea for adults to read it too.
One of the best things we can do for our children is set a strong foundation of self-esteem. It is easier to get through life, and the curveballs it can throw, when coming from a place of self-love and acceptance.
As an adult psychiatrist, I often see the downstream results of children who weren’t able to be themselves. Children who felt afraid to fail so struggled to take risks or step outside the expected norms and find what speaks to them in life.
These children can become adults that are afraid and unhappy. Adults that are fearful of being their authentic selves for fear of judgment and the unknown. And what is the cost to their mental health?
I encourage each and every one of you to read this beautiful book and take the message to heart. Find a child who will benefit and give it as a gift. Allow Red to tell this touching story of overcoming obstacles to find a path filled with acceptance, love, and joy. Let’s help them understand they are perfect just the way they are.
What do you think of this book? What other books have been equally touching to you that you love?
Read more about self-respect and living authentically.
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