Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf, illustrated by Michael Leitzig

Have you ever been teased? Made fun of because of some esoteric difference--be it clothes, hair, accent, height, weight, what you bring for lunch, being "too smart", being "dumb"? Regardless the comparison that's being used, do you remember how it made you feel? Well, this story, may just help remind us all about the Golden Rule.

The many-hued crayons in this crayon box simply do not get along--teasing, arguing, treating each other poorly--until a savvy little girl buys the box, takes it home, and uses each of the colors to draw a picture.

The final lines, combined with the changes in those oh-so-expressive crayon faces (kudos to Mr. Leitzig for this), provide a simple but powerful catalyst for thought and for discussion.

"We are a box of crayons,
Each one of us unique.
But When we get together...
The picture is complete."

Enjoy this title as a short and sweet read aloud that may just help a child realize that differences are to be celebrated--not mocked or feared. Or use your favorite search engine to explore some of the many different lesson plans out there to make this title a catalyst for discussions of the Golden Rule, prejudice, bullying and tolerance. You might be surprised at who this story may help. One of my favorite memories from last school year? The big grin from one of my very shy ESL students as she checked this title out after a wonderful student-driven discussion after we read this story. Another bonus? The book can be a great lead-in to discussing how we can determine moods and feelings based on facial expression--and seeing the expressions on crayons helped to make this story one that any student, regardless of their own personal differences, can relate to.

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