The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons by Natascha Biebow and Steven Salerno

TheCrayonMan

Summary

How do you develop a product that people love?  You start by listening to what people need. Then you research, experiment and ask for feedback. In The Crayon Man, we see how Edwin Binney created Crayola crayons. Binney was an inventor. His products made life easier for people. When his wife, a teacher, explained that children needed crayons made for their young hands, Binney got to work.

Author Natascha Biebow walks readers through the invention of Crayola crayons. The careful pacing of the story highlights the slow process of waiting and watching. Snippets of background information are displayed in framed boxes throughout the story. Explosions of color fill the pages in this delightful account of Crayola crayons.

TheCrayonManInsides

Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Collaborate/Share III.C.1 Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes using evidence to investigate questions.

The Crayon Man is the perfect mentor text for modeling the invention process. Readers see how Binney investigates questions and uses evidence to make crayons better.

After reading The Crayon Man, watch Ellen DeGeneres interview children about their inventions. She begins by asking, “What did you invent and why did you invent it?” We learn how they created products to solve a problem.

Invite learners to work in groups to brainstorm everyday problems. Challenge them to research products that make life easier. Can they make the product better? How? Encourage learners to design a modification that will make a difference.

Behind the Book

To learn more about the illustrations in Crayon Man, read this interview with Steven Salerno:

Q & A with Steven Salerno: The Process of Illustrating Creative Non-Fiction Picture Books

To watch Natascha Biebow read her book, watch this video on KidLit TV:

Read Out Loud The Crayon Man

If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included. 

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