In this joyous and inventive rereading of the beloved children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon, the author of How We Change (And Ten Reasons Why We Don’t) celebrates our inherent “sacred originality” and establishes a new framework for self-reliance.
In 1955, Crockett Johnson introduced one of the world’s most beloved and enduring young adventurers, Harold and his purple crayon. Today, we need Harold and his penchant for creative solutions more than ever. In Purple Crayons, Ross Ellenhorn looks to Johnson’s classic for insights and answers that can help us understand our current condition and point the way towards solutions for healing. Purple Crayons tells a story about America then and now, about living one’s life as art; about the powers that block us from doing so, about the pull and perils of conformity; about serious play and too much seriousness, about what it means to feel alive inside and what deadens our existence. It’s also about 1955 in America, all that lay before and—presciently—all that lay ahead, as each of us struggles to draw meaningful and resilient existences on the blank pages—the future yet unlived—of our lives.
This delightful, provocative adventure is a gift of kindness and love that encourages us and gives us hope. As he traces Harold’s journey, Ellenhorn offers insights into our “sacred originality”—the idea that each of our unique inner lives are worth nurturing and protecting, and the perseverance, courage, connection, and community necessary to sustain them. Engaging, thoughtful, wise—Purple Crayons transcends the current divides separating us, reminding us that our fulfillment rests on tapping into what is original about ourselves, finding ways to express our originality, and understanding that doing so is rooted in who we are as Americans.
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