Monday, October 10, 2016

Crayons Speak Truth to Power

Picture Book: The Day the Crayons Quit
Author: Drew Daywalt
Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers 
Summary: When Duncan pulls out his crayons at school, he finds a stack of letters instead. 
Each crayon has written him a letter of complaint. Here are a few of the hilarious examples: 
The red crayon is working too hard, not even getting off for Christmas. 
The white crayon is used mainly on white paper so it feels misused and empty. 
The black crayon is only used to draw the outline of things. It’s not fair! The pink crayon hasn’t been used once! You can guess why. 
After all the letters are read, Duncan turns in a new piece of art that is very different from his usual productions. The result is unique and praised by the teacher. Clearly the crayons have been heard and change is the result.
Hanna’s Comments: I see 2 ways this clever book can be connected to scripture. My first reaction was to focus on the tone of these letters. The Psalms are full of complaints, called lamentations. Doing a lesson on this kind of prayer can be very eye-opening for children and adults. Secondly, I thought about the phrase “speaking truth to power.” Sometimes the right words, to the right people can bring forth positive change with regards to injustice, neglect, or inefficient systems. That’s what happens in this book and that's what drives positive change, like justice movements. Justice is one of the priorities of most religions in the world. Keep in mind that there is a lot of text in this book. I suggest reading a few crayon’s letters per sitting if your children are easily distracted. There’s a new sequel to this book. It’s about a new group of crayons that wants Duncan to rescue them. It should offer some great PBT options too. It’s called The Day the Crayons Came Home.
Original Publisher & Date: Philomel, 2013
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Available in Spanish: Yes
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: I pour out my complaint before God, I tell my trouble before God (Psalm 142:2) – just google “psalms of complaint" for more options; What does the Lord require of you but to do justice… (Micah 6:8)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this fun book to a group of children, teens, or adults in a lesson on psalms of complaint or speaking truth to power when doing justice.