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The Day the Crayons Quit + a Giveaway

crayonsHave you read The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers yet?  If you have, I imagine you were also tickled by it upon reading it!

Duncan’s crayons quit because they were dissatisfied with the way he was using them.  Black Crayon feels he’s being underutilized as just an outliner color.  Yellow Crayon and Orange Crayon are not speaking to each other after a disagreement about who is the true color of the sun.  Red Crayon feels overworked since Duncan uses him more often than the other crayons.  How, you may wonder, do Duncan crayons go about quitting? Well, they craft  Duncan letters, which he finds when he retrieves his crayon box.  But the letters aren’t written from the collective… they’re written from every crayon in Duncan’s crayon box.

This picture book is not only clever and charming, but it is a great mentor text.  Here are a few of the possible things you can use it for with the writers in your workshop:

  • Building Content Through Show, Not Tell (Using Illustrations): This idea comes from Dorfman and Cappelli’s book Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature, K-6 (pages 94-95). Each crayon’s mood or situation is reflected in each illustration that accompanies its letter. Students who are drawing and writing can study the illustrations in this text to help them better show what’s happening in their pieces through pictures and text.
  • Commas in Lists: If your students need guidance, there are many examples of commas that appear in lists in this book.
  • Ending Punctuation: The ending punctuation is varied in this text. Many sentences trail off (…), ask questions (?) or end in a declaration (!).
  • Friendly Letter Format: Page after page, each crayon’s letter to Duncan begins with a salutation (e.g., Dear Duncan; Hi Duncan) and ends with a closing (e.g., Your overworked friend, Red Crayon; Your naked friend, Peach Crayon) that reflects each crayon’s voice.
  • Lead:  The book begins with “One day in class, Duncan went to take out his crayons and found a stack of letters with his name on them.”  I don’t know about you, but I was wondering what was in those letters immediately!  While the book began like so many other books, with the words, “one day,” it immediately sucked me because of everything else in this powerful first sentence.
  • Precise Words: Each crayon uses precise words (i.e., nouns, verbs, and adjectives) to describe his/her situation.  You can examine these author’s word choices alongside students and talk about the way precise language helps create a greater impact (than less specific words would have if they were used).
  • Variations in Print: Some words are capitalized, some phrases are underlined, and some sentences are written slightly larger. You can ask students to consider why the author (and illustrator) did this so they can try it out in their own writing.
  • Voice:  Each crayon has his/her own distinct voice. You might choose to examine the way each crayon writes with voice with each student.  In addition, you can have a conversation about the tone students use in letters by examining the way some crayons are  more respectful towards Duncan (with their persuasive arguments), while others are downright whiny.

Want some additional ideas for using The Day the Crayons Quit in your classroom? Read “Putting Books to Work: Daywalt and Jeffers’ The Day the Crayons Quit” by Kathy Prater.

Giveaway Information:

  • Many thanks to Penguin Young Readers Group for sponsoring this giveaway. One commenter will win a copy of The Day the Crayons Quit written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.
  • To enter for a chance to win a copy please leave a comment on this post about how you’d use (or have used if your school year has already begun) The Day the Crayons Quit with your students.
  • All comments left on or before Sunday, October 6th at 11:59 p.m. EDT will be entered into a random drawing using a random number generator on Monday, October 7th. I will announce the winners’ names at the bottom of this post the following day.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. From there, my contact at Penguin will ship the book out to you. (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you only leave it in the e-mail field.)

Comments are now closed.  Thank you to everyone who left a comment about The Day the Crayons Quit.

Congratulations to Susan Brody whose commenter number was selected using a random number generator.  Here’s what Susan wrote:

I read it to my fourth grade language arts classes on the second day of school, just to get them in the spirit of writing workshop–explaining just how important writing can be. If I had my own copy (I borrowed my from a library within my public library’s lending circle), I would definitely revisit it later in the year for many of those great suggestions on using it as a mentor text. I had debated waiting to read it before our essay/persuasive unit, but ultimately decided it was too cute and enjoyable to wait!

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

90 thoughts on “The Day the Crayons Quit + a Giveaway Leave a comment

  1. I have recently switched from fourth grade to second grade and am always looking for new mentor texts, especially for opinion/persuasive writing. Thanks for the idea.

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  2. Numerous options exist for using this book in the classroom. Working with mentor sentences in my fourth grade class, I would invite my students to imitate Daywalt and write a story from another toy’s point of view like he wrote from the crayons’ point of view.

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  3. I would use it in a persuasive writing unit or I would use it for writing friendly letters – having the students respond back to each crayon as Duncan.

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  4. Love using mentor text to teach writing and this is a favorite! The kiddos love the story and ask to read it over and over … so many lessons from one well written & illustrated book!

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  5. I used it as a point of view writing lesson. The students chose their favorite colors and wrote a letter to themselves about why they (the crayon) was going on strike.

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  6. Currently, our fourth grade students are learning to write realistic fiction stories. This is a great mentor text for voice and how to show not tell when writing. Hope I win! But will definitely be purchasing on my own if I am not the lucky winner.

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  7. Having friends of color jokingly refer to themselves as crayon colors, I can relate to this book on another level. I work in a multi-cultural school with over 40% ELL students. This book speaks to me as I think it will speak to them! We are always using picture books to show (not tell) about literary elements and grammar rules. I would LOVE to own this book! Now the question is this,” Can I wait to find out if I win, or should I just go buy the book, and if I win have a second copy??!!” Thank you for showing us this great book!

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  8. Always looking for great mentor texts for writing… Students learn and understand when there is a good example.
    Thanks for the ideas.

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  9. This book sounds like a great read for students and teachers! I would love to use it to introduce letter writing to my first graders!

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  10. I always want the books you post on here! I would have used this in my narrative launching unit. I would still use it to revisit these lessons as the year goes on. If I don’t win, I will have to buy it! Thanks for sharing!

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  11. What a fun book. I would use it with my middle schoolers to teach many different aspects of writing. Voice, punctuation, personification and letter writing to name just a few. Middle schoolers love picture books even at their age!! What fun.
    Tracey

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  12. Would use it to show how good writing techniques yield a better and more enjoyable story. Think it would be a fun multi-disciplinary unit for my k-4th students. Wonderful book!

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  13. I discovered this book over the summer and fell in love! I featured it as part of a professional development for interactive read alouds. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

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  14. This would be a great book to teach voice. The illustrations in the book enhance the story as well. I love the pictures of each crayon…they help the reader know how each is feeling.

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  15. I read it to my 1st graders just as a read-aloud and they loved it … they asked for it several times over. I’d love to use it again as a mentor text for teaching the basics of writing letters in our Work on Writing station, and I like the idea of a lesson on ending punctuation. I think it could also be used for point of view and voice, hard concepts to bring up with beginning 1st grade writers who often struggle to just get words on the paper, much less worry about voice and style ….

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  16. My class just read the poem A Box of Crayons as a reminder on accepting all. This book would also be great to use with my class when writing persuasive writing. Love it!!! Thanks for sharing. PS also love the idea of a readers theater.

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  17. I would use this as a mentor text for so many things throughout the year. Writing letters, voice, punctuation, creativity, using color in illustrations, etc., etc., etc. Such a cute book!!

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  18. I would use the book to teach voice and persuasive writing at the third grade level. I am buying my own copy, but it would be great to have multiple copies in the class library.

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  19. I have used this as a read aloud before a workshop for teachers about writing. I also plan to use it during a persuasive writing unit of study

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  20. This looks like a great way to enhance our third graders stories about themselves. Perfect timing for our editing lessons! We will read a section, revise, and reread again. Awesome tool! Thanks for sharing!

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  21. I just read this one on Thursday. Loved it. The crayons expressed their emotions in clever ways. I love that you can infer and it is not all told to the reader. Thanks for the giveaway chance.

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  22. Wow! What an awesome concept for a story! I would imagine that it would be an excellent mentor text for voice, point of view, and a multitude of other things. Kids could also springboard from this idea to other school supplies that might quit and explain why. Thanks for the great post!

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  23. As an art teacher, I loved the perspective of all of the crayons. I sympathize with the beige crayon and the blue-one vastly underrated, the other overused. it’s been one of the few books that took two periods to finish-we usually read a book at the end of class, and invariably one of the students would remind me the next week that we needed to finish the “crayon book”. I think it’s important for children to understand and learn about other people’s feelings and rights–even though the main characters are crayons, I believe it’s an incredibly creative way to teach children about feelings and rights.

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  24. This book could be used in a dramatic “Readers Theater” production. Students dress in colors and represent each crayon by reading the letter. There could be students in background coloring pictures and holding them up after each reading.

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  25. I love the idea of a witty, easy to access mentor text for my sixth grade students. It’s the magic of having an onion and continuing to peel back the layers. I think it’s so important to see how authors use voice and leads to convey a message, giving students that experience helps them find their own voice.

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  26. I read it to my fourth grade language arts classes on the second day of school, just to get them in the spirit of writing workshop–explaining just how important writing can be. If I had my own copy (I borrowed my from a library within my public library’s lending circle), I would definitely revisit it later in the year for many of those great suggestions on using it as a mentor text. I had debated waiting to read it before our essay/persuasive unit, but ultimately decided it was too cute and enjoyable to wait!

    Like

  27. I think I would use the book for sharing how people craft letters. I know the book so I would use it in a letter unit, but also examining how letters are used in it, along with other ways we use them. Teaching voice is interesting in the younger grades, but having students try reading the letters and “voices” aloud might be another help. Thanks Stacey.

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  28. Tomorrow I will read the book in my daughter’s 1st grade class (I am on break and the mystery reader). I will leave the book with her teacher (for awhile) and share these ideas with her. Still, though, the idea of using this book for tone, voice, and argumentative writing appeals to me–I teach 6th grade. If I got a second copy, I would donate it to my daughter’s teacher.
    Thanks for sharing–I can’t wait to go read tomorrow.
    Maya
    mkwoodall@mac.com

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  29. I thought about making a big pile of similar letters and depositing them in my school
    library. Act surprised? Where did they come from? What do they say? Read a few.. then introduce book to students.

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  30. I was just told about this book today! Although I haven’t read the entire book I can imagine it would be a great resource to show how you can create characters out of ordinary, everyday objects!

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  31. Just reserved a copy through my public library. I want my students to see and hear how a myriad of authors write. This book sounds so clever…who would have thought about each crayon having a different perspective.

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  32. Thank you for this review. This is the first time that I have heard of this book. I will read it, share it and possibly use it as a 34kiwis.org inquiry post. I’m always looking for engaging material to create lessons with. Thanks again.

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  33. I read this book to my second graders and they loved it! We used it as we were writing and the kids were told to “Make your crayons happy” in adding color and details to their pictures. One day a girl wanted help peeling the wrapper down on a worn crayon and another was heard saying “No! DOn’t make your crayon naked!”

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  34. This book sounds quite enjoyable for a group of young writers! Honestly, all the possible ideas posted on how to use the book are clever and make it a great mentor text. I would most likely refer back to this book multiple times at different points in our writers workshop studies so students can see that authors utulize many skills, formats, and aspects of writing even in just one text.

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  35. I just found out about this book recently, and I wanted to use it in my classroom, but hadn’t quite figured out how. Thank you for your wonderful ideas! I think this is a story my students would enjoy and definitely be able to learn from!

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  36. Walked into town library at end of school year and librarian handed me The Day the Crayons Quit. Love at first sight! Got to be the first to check it out and put it to immediate use in PD I did for a district in Massachusetts over the summer. Used it to teach workshops on Opinion Writing K-4. In pairs, teachers took a page for the book (a crayon color) and unpacked the opinion writing craft evident in their page. During our whole group share out, we amassed long list of persuasive letter writing, opinion writing, and argument writing craft.
    In our opening day school-wide assembly, teachers were called on to name a book they read over the summer and… yes, I announced The Day the Crayons Quit. This is a book worth revisiting throughout the year to mine for writing craft. On any day, it is worth turning to “Peach’s” page for a smile. Cheers to Penguin Young Readers for sponsoring this give-away and to you, Stacey, for hosting it! Fingers crossed, the copy I used is back in the library.

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  37. This book has quickly become a fave. I love the expressions and gestures of the crayons. I’m hoping to use it for various kinds of content and craft, and also as an illustrator’s study about Oliver Jeffers’ techniques.

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  38. I bought this book because I love the voices it uses. I read it to one of the kindergarten classes and they Loved it! I let one little girl look at it the next day when she had finished her word work. At first she said she couldn’t read. I reminded her she could read the pictures too. She started finding the crayons in her crayon box to match and even peeled the paper off of her peach crayon. 🙂 I’ve shared with my teacher friends and many have requested it for different lessons. Winning would allow me to better “share the love.” 🙂

    One of my favorite books ever. 🙂

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  39. I would love to have this book for my classroom! As a Title I teacher I can see using this with my kindergarteners as well as my 3rd and 5th grade students. A great mentor text for any age.

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  40. The Day the Crayons Quit is the perfect “into” for common core anchor 1 opinion writing. As a read aloud, pausing at each page, the student partner articulate what stance or position each crayon is taking and list off the reasons. Seeing the claim and the evidence in one engaging piece is showing them the argument.
    In addition make anchor 6 fun with r.a.f.t.s (roles audience format text) by having the students write a persuasive letter, being one color of crayon. We wrote them to our little brother or sister…in color of course.

    My students didn’t have a background to understand protest or petitions, so this book is terrific for that.

    Humor always engages reluctant readers and writers so, of course, we fall over laughing with Peach crayon…..

    One of my new most fave read alouds….

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  41. Oops, forgot to include how I would use it. Love the idea of using it to reinforce greetings and closings in the friendly letter format and variations in end punctuation. I would definitely put it with my other favorite text for teaching voice, Arnie the Doughnut.

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  42. I just returned a copy of this book to the library. Due to the demands of the beginning of the school year, I hadn’t shared it with my students yet. Thanks for these great ideas. I would love to have a copy for my classroom!

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  43. This looks like a wonderful book for teaching voice. I haven’t read this book yet, but will be on the lookout for it this weekend when I hit the bookstore. Thank you for sharing your ideas for using it with students.
    Kris
    teachergonedigital@ gamil (dot) come

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  44. This looks like a really great mentor text. One of my concerns is that we can ALL become locked in the mentor texts we use. Teachers and kids need to be excited about texts before they revisit them recursively and use them as mentors.

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  45. I love this book but haven’t yet brought it into our fifth grade ELA class. Each time I see it, I imagine using its premise as a writing prompt for students to imagine the inner lives of the objects they use most frequently. That feels a little gimmicky in the age of CCCS and constant accountability, therefore I haven’t bought the book or used it yet. With this blog post and all of ways the book can be used as a mentor text, it will definitely get some play in our classroom. Thank you for this, not only for showcasingThe Day the Crayons Quit, but the gentle reminder to keep the classroom engaging. I needed that. It’s been a tough start to the school year and I need to turn things around.

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    • Kath- I purposely didn’t include “personification” on here as one of the things to teach from it. It felt too contrived to me to be included in my recommendations. There are lots of ways to use this book… not only what I suggested but what other folks are saying too. I hope you’ll add it to your classroom library. I think your kiddos will enjoy it.

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  46. This is a great book to use for all those grammar lessons. I would use it to teach various grammar lessons, but I would also use it for voice. This certainly is a must have mentor text. I read it last year and loved it. Thanks for writing such a great review. I hope I win!

    Paulina

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