Purple Crayons: The Art of Drawing a Life

Harper Wave. Nov. 2022. 224p. ISBN 9780063143807. $28.99. SELF-HELP
This inspiring and thought-provoking exploration of restoring one’s creativity uses Crockett Johnson’s beloved 1955 children’s story Harold and the Purple Crayon to offer an accessible path to revitalizing creativity. The original, whimsical illustrations introduce themes of play, hope, and self-determination. Its conversational tone safely navigates deep concerns of risk and anxiety, even as it asserts that one can turn disasters into solutions with fortitude, grit, and resilience. To wander curiously fosters imagination that molds and crafts a person’s unique experience. Holding the purple crayon allows the creator to navigate life and determine their destiny. The simple concepts in the children’s story are taken to new and rather spiritual depths. Satisfying creative urges serve to return an individual to who they once were and determine a path forward. As he envisions his own particular and uncommon path, Harold keeps his eye on the moon, at long last coming home.
VERDICT Sociologist and psychotherapist Ellenhorn (How We Change) gently and tenderly challenges readers to view creative tendencies as art in order to feel alive inside, ultimately coming home to one’s own self. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
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