When it comes to coloring, sometimes you have to think outside the box. These three stories will help spark imaginations and conversations (and more than one chuckle) with your kiddo, no matter their skill-level. Read on for our favorite crayon books and suggested activities to live la vida Crayola.

harold and the purple crayon Photo: carnagnyc via flickr

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
In this classic 1955 children’s book, Harold enters a world he’s created with the help of his magic purple crayon. When it’s too dark, the inventive four-year-old takes matters into his own hand by drawing the moon to light his path. When he doesn’t know where to go, he draws a path. He even draws himself a house and cozy bed to sleep in. 

Live It
Have your child choose one single color (it doesn’t have to be purple). Then ask them to draw either a picture or a series of illustrations to create their own mini-book. Let their imaginations run wild or prompt them to create a plot with questions. Who is the main character? Where does she go? What does she see along the way?

the day the crayons quitphoto: Goodreads 

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (author) and Oliver Jeffers (illustrator)

This bestselling book featuring frustrated crayons that must be coaxed back into harmony by little Duncan will have yu and the kiddos chuckling throughout. When his crayons go on strike, Duncan must figure out how to appease their demands: blue is tired of drawing all that water, black gets a bad rap and peach feels totally naked. It’s as funny as it is sweet, and kids will appreciate the range of emotions the crayons experience.

Live It
Have your little artists pick six crayons from a box at random. Then ask them to invent a feeling, voice and problem to each crayon. Younger kids can do just one or two crayons, older kids can tackle the whole box and even record their answers on paper. Let your child help “resolve” the problem each crayon is having.

Look for: The latest book, The Day the Crayons Came Home, is about a group of forgotten crayons who write to Duncan describing how they were left behind, broken and even swallowed up by the dog.

red, a crayon's story, kid reading on couch, henrikphoto: Amber Guetebier

Red, A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall 

This is the story of Red, who really isn’t red at all. The book not only charms with the awesome artwork, it’s a subtle lesson in being who you really are and getting past the labels others ascribe you. When all of his efforts (and those of his teachers, parents and grandparents) fail to make Red red, it takes the vision of one clear-minded new friend to make sense of who Red really is (spoiler alert, Red is blue!).

Live It
Have your child draw something that is supposed to be one color using an unexpected color. For example: blue grapes; a yellow sky; a black moon; a purple sun. Ask them why they chose that color and object and why. Talk about the differences.

Bonus: There’s a little lesson in primary colors here, too! Red and yellow make what?

Share your kiddos illustrations with us on Instagram. and tag them #redtricycle. 

—Amber Guetebier