Red: A Crayon's Story
Why this book?
I’ll never forget reading this tale of a blue crayon in a red wrapper, struggling to draw red. I stood in the children’s book shop, a grown lesbian, feeling the hair on my arms rise, my eyes fill. This story is full of humor as fellow crayons and art supplies offer advice: “he wasn’t warm enough” “He’s got to press harder.” But his struggle also breaks our hearts: “I think he’s lazy,” one crayon says. “The masking tape thought he was broken inside.” The dread of feeling that you can’t be what everyone wants is visceral. Clearly a perfect allegory for gender identity, this story also rang through me. Then, Red tries to draw an ocean. And “It was easy!” Soon he was “really reaching for the sky.”