It’s National Crayon Day and I think that is a great reason to celebrate.
When I was a child, we shared a big box of well used crayons that was passed away. Somehow, I never found my favorite colors – magenta and midnight blue. How I longed for the box of 64 crayons with the sharpener in the back. I’m pleased to say, I bought myself a box and am planning on coloring to my heart’s content. So – today I am sharing the biography of the man who invented Crayola Crayons.
THE CRAYON MAN
The True Story of the Inventor of Crayola Crayons
By Natasha Biebow (author) and Steven Salerno (illustrator)
Published by Houghton Mifflin 2019
Picture book for grades 2–5
Setting: Greenwich, Connecticut
Themes: Inventors, STEAM, Crayons
Once there was a man who saw color EVERYWHERE.
He noticed the yellow-orange petals of the black-eyed Susans
in his garden. He marveled at the rich scarlet-red tones of
the cardinal’s feathers. He admired the deep blue-green
of the waves in the sea.
Color made him really, really HAPPY!
Edwin Binney and his cousin, Harold Smith, worked in their factory making black ink, black dyes, and black pigments for industrial use. It was a dark and grimy place. But Edwin loved color. He invented a dustless white chalk, gray slate pencils, and finally a black wax crayon. But he knew that children needed colors for drawing.
With encouragement from his family and inspiration from his garden, he developed a secret formula using his love of science and invention. He experimented with different minerals to make colorful pigments and was careful to make them non-toxic. The original boxes had eight colors and sold for five cents. He went on to develop many more colors and even asked children to help name some of them.
THE CRAYON MAN is an inspiring book that can be read and enjoyed by different grades as there is layered text and extensive back matter.
Here is a fun resource from the publisher to use with children. Just copy and paste.
I fondly remember this episode when Mr. Rogers visited the crayon factory:
And just for fun, here’s Alice Noelle having her first experience with non-toxic Crayola Crayons.
Thanks for stopping by – Let me know in the comments what your favorite crayon color is.