The beginning of the school year is a busy time filled with teaching expectations and procedures. However, it is also a time to celebrate just how diverse and important each student is to your classroom! Just like a box of crayons, each student plays an important role in the overall picture. For this reason, I love to read crayon-themed picture books to help set the tone and build classroom community.
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Crayon-Themed Picture Books
Here are some of my favorite crayon-themed picture books to share with students.
The Crayon Man
by Natasha Biebow
What child doesn’t love to hold a crayon in their hands? But children didn’t always have such magical boxes of crayons. Before Edwin Binney set out to change things, children couldn’t really even draw in color. Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a bright green box for only a nickel! With experimentation, and a special knack for listening, Edwin Binney and his dynamic team at Crayola created one of the world’s most enduring, best-loved childhood toys – empowering children to dream in COLOR!
The Crayon Box That Talked
by Shane DeRolf
“While walking through a toy store, the day before today, I overheard a crayon box with many things to say…” Once upon a time, Shane DeRolf wrote a poem. It was a deceptively simple poem, a charming little piece that celebrates the creation of harmony through diversity.
A Day with No Crayons
by Elizabeth Rausch
When Liza’s mother takes away her beloved crayons, her world suddenly goes gray. How does the budding artist repond? She squirts her toothpaste angrily and stomps through mud puddles. Through these acts, Liza inadvertently creates art-and eventually discovers color in the world around her.
The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt
Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun. What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?
The Day the Crayons Came Home
by Drew Daywalt
I’m not sure what it is about this kid Duncan, but his crayons sure are a colorful bunch of characters! Having soothed the hurt feelings of one group who threatened to quit, Duncan now faces a whole new group of crayons asking to be rescued. From Maroon Crayon, who was lost beneath the sofa cushions and then broken in two after Dad sat on him; to poor Turquoise, whose head is now stuck to one of Duncan’s stinky socks after they both ended up in the dryer together; to Pea Green, who knows darn well that no kid likes peas and who ran away—each and every crayon has a woeful tale to tell and a plea to be brought home to the crayon box.
Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson
One evening Harold decides to go for a walk in the moonlight. Armed only with an oversize purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of wonder and excitement. Harold and his trusty crayon travel through woods and across seas and past dragons before returning to bed, safe and sound. Full of funny twists and surprises, this charming story shows just how far your imagination can take you.
How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow
by Monica Sweeney
The Sun and the Clouds are best friends. Together they keep the world warm, the gardens growing, and the sky full of beautiful rainbows. But one day they get into a fight and refuse to be in the sky together. And that means there are no longer any rainbows. Without rainbows, the colors start disappearing until Earth was left with no color … except for one little forgotten box of crayons in one little school desk.
Determined to save the rainbows and fix the Sun and Clouds’ friendship, the crayons draw rainbows all over town. Their attempts go unnoticed. Soon they realize that they’re going to have to do something big to get the attention of the former friends. So, the crayons create the biggest rainbow they can and hope it’s enough to bring color back to the world.
I’m NOT Just a Scribble…
by Diane Alber
Scribble, the book’s main character, never thought he was different until he met his first drawing. Then, after being left out because he didn’t look like everyone else, Scribble teaches the drawings how to accept each other for who they are, which enables them to create amazing art.
Red: A Crayon’s Story
by Michael Hall
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!
by Michael Hall
The crayons are ready to tell the thrilling tale of Frankencrayon. The costumes are made, the roles are cast, the pages are all set—but then disaster strikes. Someone has scribbled on the page! Hideous! Horrifying! The story can’t go on! Try as they might, the crayons can’t erase the scribble, and this picture book must be canceled. Until the crayons playing the title role of Frankencrayon think of a solution, that is.
Teal: A Book about a Little Crayon That Makes a Big Difference
by Renee Galvin
Teal is a story of a little crayon who doesn’t fit in. Is Teal blue or is he green? This charming fable empowers children to think outside the box and embrace one another’s diversity.
Pete the Cat Crayons Rock!
by Kimberly and James Dean
Pete uses his groovy crayons to draw lots of things, and for the first time ever, he’s drawing his pals. But when Pete shows his artwork to his friends, they don’t react the way he expected them to. Will Pete put his favorite crayons down or find a way to turn it all around?
The Crayon Counting Book
by Pam Muñoz Ryan and Jerry Pallotta
Crayons aren’t just for coloring anymore! This colorful rhyme teaches counting by twos–two different ways. First, use the even numbers to count up to 24. Then start over with the odd numbers. Along the way you’ll learn unusual colors, like iguana and fiddlehead. Counting has never been more fun or colorful!
Oh, and if you enjoy using book characters or stuffed animals in the classroom, don’t forget to add some crayons to your collection.
Crayon Writing Craft
After reading your favorite crayon-themed picture book, have students respond to the text in a fun way with this crayon writing craft. There are two different sizes with options for horizontal or vertical layout.
Here are some of the activities I created to pair with The Crayon Box That Talked, The Day the Crayons Quit, and A Day with No Crayons. These activities include discussion questions, graphic organizers, and more!
I even have some crayon-themed activity pages that could be paired with your favorite crayon-themed picture book. This includes:
- word search
- word scramble
- graphing activity
- ABC order
- crayon name collection
- color wheel
You can find all of these activities in this Let’s Get Colorful picture book companion:
This book companion was recently updated with an option for distance learning. Inside the pack you’ll find a Google Slides link.