#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Colorful Story of Crayola Crayons in “The Crayon Man”

Meet Edwin Binney, inventor of Crayola crayons.


Fats here.

e are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.


The Crayon Man
The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons

Story by Natascha Biebow | Illustrations by Steven Salerno
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2019)
ISBN-13: 9781328866844
Copy provided by Geauga County Public Library.
Cover image downloaded online. Page samples taken by me.

What child doesn’t love to hold a crayon in their hands? But children didn’t always have such magical boxes of crayons. Before Edwin Binney set out to change things, most children couldn’t afford colored crayons…


Edwin Binney was an inventor who partnered with his cousin to run a company that sold carbon black. Carbon black was a pigment that had many uses: printing inks, electric street lamps, and shoe polish, to name a few. Working in the factory all day long, Edwin saw nothing but BLACK.

Edwin was a man who saw colors everywhere. With the encouragement of his wife Alice, who worked as a schoolteacher, Edwin decided to invent better—and cheaper—crayons for children. Edwin and his team used ground-up rocks and minerals to produce different kinds of colors such as hematite for red and goethite for yellow. They experimented with the colors that they had and were able to produce different shades. Edwin’s invention, which he later named Crayola—from the French words craie, meaning stick of chalk, and ola meaning oily—won a gold medal at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Even after Edwin’s death 30 years later, Crayola carried on with Edwin’s mission to bring the wonder of color to people of all ages.


The Crayon Man is a fun, non-fiction picture book. This can easily be paired with activities that involve drawing and coloring. Did you know that a six-year-old won a contest during Crayola’s 90th Anniversary and coined “tropical rain forest” as a name for a color? If you have a copy of the book, don’t forget to read beyond the story and find out extra details about Edwin Binney and How Crayola Crayons Are Made Today!

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