Monday, July 6, 2015


Most of us are familiar with the classic children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, first published in 1955. It’s a book I often checked out of the library as a child, and then later read to my own children. Now the book with its worn dust jacket sits upon a shelf in my art teaching studio. I have read the book many times to my young students, using it as an introduction to a lesson on line and shape.

In the story, using just one purple crayon, Harold draws himself a magical imaginary adventure. There are no limits, parents or rules for Harold to obey; his imagination and one purple crayon can take him anywhere.

Using the illustrations in the book, have students identify straight lines, zig-zag lines, curvy lines, wavy lines etc. Next, ask students to identify the basic geometric shapes that make up some of the drawings.

For an art and writing activity, make up individual blank books using any size white paper stapled or glued at the fold. Have each child draw themselves (using a purple crayon or marker) into their own imaginary story that begins and ends at their bedroom window. Ask older students to write text to accompany the illustrations, have younger students explain their drawings to the class.

Where will a purple crayon and their imagination take them?

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