Let Harold Light the Way–Dare to Dream

Discovery and Innovation. This book was written in 1955. I love this book. There are others in the series and I discovered them while my son was young — nearly 50 years after they were written. Have you read the books about Harold and the Purple Crayon?

Harold, a small child, uses his big purple crayon to create an imaginary world. He sets out on a walk at night and begins by drawing the path and the moon.  The interesting thing is everything, or almost everything he draws, is possible. He imagines it, draws it, and then experiences it.

There have been both film and theatre adaptations of this simple story. The computer game Crayon Physics Deluxe is based on it (that makes me even want to play a computer game!) and now an ipad app. What does that mean? Is this an opportunity for the typical American more is better mentality, or is this book very creative and thought-provoking in its simplicity?

You can’t answer that question unless you read the book, and there are a lot of sequel adventures. The book may take five minutes of your time and give your imagination, if you let it, a work out.  What I learned from Harold: Dream and make it possible. The great thing about Harold is that he creates everything from his imagination, but it is all possible. So I say dreams really do come true. (I think I should also say thank you Walt Disney).

When I was in junior high and high school, any one who had artistic talent or was perceived as having such, was called “creative.”  Those who had imagination or ability for math and science or inventing things were called “smart.” I remember a classmate particularly who was very creative. Kids admired her talent and at the same time would make fun of certain things about her. She was unconventional in her dress. Now she would almost look like she was straight out of Brooks Brothers, but not then.

Here is what I learned that I have reflected on recently so many years later. She was in fact creative and talented. She did not copy or imitate to display her talent. She used her imagination and creativity. At the same time, some of the things she did in the guise of self-expression, were silly. Dressing silly or wearing two different socks is not creative. It is wearing two different socks. Where is the creativity in that? Was she the first person to ever do that? (No!) Innovation? Perhaps a fashion statement?

Harold is a model in many ways. He tells a story that he creates and one in which you don’t know what will happen next. At the same time, he could really make all of that happen. That may seem to lack creativity but it seems to me to have everything to do with creativity.

Dream. Imagine and Create. But if you, or someone in the future can’t realize it, what is the point? Creativity is not wearing clothes that don’t match.

Categories: arts for arts sake, Arts Integrated Education, creativity, Imagination, Innovation, Uncategorized, write to express, writing, writng for funTags: , , , , ,


  1. This was on of our best loved books!

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