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“Harold and the Purple Crayon” — Story Book Leadership

In Books, Children, Children's Literature, College Students, Education, Harold & the Purple Crayon, Leadership, Malavenda, Pablo Malavenda, Story Book Leadership, Uncategorized on November 12, 2012 at 7:33 am

Story Book Leadership -- Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnsonby Crockett Johnson (1955, Harper & Row, New York)


{First Read PC Pop post: Story Book Leadership — Getting Started — 8 Steps to Powerful Presentations, which you will give you more specific information on how to use children’s literature in teaching leadership to college students and adults.}


Topics:

  • Controlling your Destiny
  • Crisis Management
  • Creativity
  • Goal Setting
  • Problem Solving

Plot (in six words):

Harold takes adventures with his crayon.


Plot Summary:

The story begins with Harold wanting to take a walk and explore with his purple crayon. Soon Harold is fighting dragons, feeding pie to porcupines and falling off a mountain ledge. Harold uses his purple crayon throughout the story to draw his way out of each of his dilemmas and life threatening accidents. After a while Harold just wants to go home but he is a bit lost. Again he uses his quick wit and his purple crayon and finds his way back to his room and drifts off to sleep.

Despite all of Harold’s adventures, it is an easy paced story. The artwork is simple and so is the story. But the lessons for Leaders are powerful and inspiring.


Getting Started

When I use children’s literature to teach Leadership to college students — I like to surprise them. I keep the book hidden until we are ready to begin. I ask them to take it seriously and be ready to discuss the book and its leadership lessons. I also like to use props like real purple Crayola crayons or a big (3 foot) purple crayon bank. I have also led the students to our room by having them follow a purple line on the floor — made by using colored duct tape.

Once the students are settled and I have selected someone to show the pictures from the story book, I read the book to the students and then begin the reflection. For the reflection discussion I basically use a three step process asking: WHAT?, SO WHAT?, and NOW WHAT? Ask the question and wait for a response. Be ready for creative and insightful answers. As the facilitator you should encourage a lively and meaningful discussion by not being too judgmental but keeping them on track. Practice active listening and clarify and summarize their comments when necessary. For more specific information on the Story Book Leadership method, read the PC Pop post: Story Book Leadership — Getting Started — 8 Steps to Powerful Presentations.

Below are suggestions on specifics questions to direct your discussion and some answers to expect after reading Harold & the Purple Crayon to your group of student leaders.


WHAT.

Question: What was this story about?

  • This is a story about an adventurous and imaginative boy name Harold who has a magic Purple Crayon. When Harold gets in trouble he uses his crayon to draw.

SO WHAT.Story Book Leadership -- Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Now that you know the story — So what? Why do you think the story was chosen for you at this stage in your leadership with this organization.

  • Question: Who is Harold?
    • Person with authority, with titles, with power
    • Leaders, student leaders, bosses, organization officers
    • Team members, committee chairs
  • Student Leaders need to be…
    • Adventurous, Risk takers, daring
    • Innovative, creative
    • Forward thinking, visionary, moving forward
    • Confident, decisive
  • Attitude — Remain positive, calm, and be able to Make the Best of each situation
  • Problem Solving/Dealing with Crises
    • Be able to deal with problems
    • Don’t blame others
    • Focus on solving the problem not who’s at fault
    • Make sound and quick decisions — decisive
    • Be able to Act
    • Use all of your resources and experience
  • Question: What is represented by the Purple Crayon?
    • Your “wits”
    • Resources
    • Decisions, problem solving
  • Question: How did Harold react to the Police Officer? How did Harold react to each dilemma or crisis?
    • Harold kept calm
    • Harold used his Purple Crayon, his resources and experience, to take action and solve problems
    • Harold remained polite — even when others like the police officer were not helpful
    • Harold remained positive — never wasting his time or energy trying to find out “who is to blame”
    • Harold focused on solving the problem
  • Question: What is the meaning of the Moon, the Bedroom Window, Bedroom? What is special about Home?
    • There are things that guide us morally in life — the Moon, Window — and we must always keep them in view
    • Home is a comfort — and we all eventually want to and need to go Home
    • Home represents family and community focused values
    • Even the most adventurous leader must “go Home” and rest — get renewed

NOW WHAT?

Now that the students are aware of the lessons learned from the adventures of Harold and his Purple Crayon — Now what?

  • Question: As leaders, how can you use this information and new insight to make a positive impact on your organization and environment?
    • Encourage the participants to use “I” statements like “In the future I will be more patient when problems arise and focus on the problem and not on who to blame.”
    • As a leader, I will take more risks and use all of my resources and experience to persevere even when times get tough or things don’t go my way.

CLOSING THE SESSION

  • Lastly, ask the group a few closing questions like:
    • How did this exercise make you feel?
    • Did you enjoy learning in this manner?
  • Encourage the student leaders to use Story Book Leadership in their workshops, meetings and retreats.

The information above is merely to give the presenter a better idea of what to expect during the discussion of Harold and the Purple Story Book Leadership -- Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett JohnsonCrayon. The key to making this a successful exercise is allowing and encouraging the participants to engage in a meaningful conversation about the Leadership Lessons in the book, how it relates to their current leadership experience, and what they can do NOW to use the ideas from this book to improve their organization and their environment.

College students and adults love to regress with a quality children’s book. If you select a well-written, well illustrated book that is relevant to the leaders — you will get a wonderful response from your participants. They will laugh, learn, and gain new insights while enjoying every minute — what more could you hope for?


For more information on Story Book Leadership, read the PC Pop posts as follows:


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Story Book Leadership — Book List

In Big Bird, Books, Cat in Hat, Children's Literature, College Students, creativity, Dr. Seuss, Group Dynamics, Harold & the Purple Crayon, Leader, Leadership, Lists, Literacy Month, Lorax, Malavenda, Maurice Sendak, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Purdue, Shel Silverstein, Story Book Leadership, Theodor Geisel, UConn, Uncategorized, William Steig, Yertle the Turtle on March 6, 2012 at 7:29 am

stack of children's books

I have been teaching LEADERSHIP to college students for close to 25 years and have been using Children’s literature for over 15 years. When attending retreats, workshops and conferences, adults including college students love to regress.  The joy on their faces when you pull out a children’s story book is priceless.  Once they realize you are serious about using a children’s book to teach leadership, students really get into it. The discussion is lively, fun, and meaningful. It is magical. (Read the entire story in the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Teaching College Students Using Kiddie Lit.)

If you too want to use Story Book Leadership techniques with your students, find out how to get started by reading the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Getting Started. Selecting the perfect book is one of the first steps in the process of using Story Book Leadership.

children readingI encourage you to select one of your favorite’s from your childhood — your passion for the book will add genuine excitement to your presentation.  I would love it if you also went to your local library and bookstores (locally owned, of course), sat on the floor over the course of a few months, and discover and rediscover the wonderful world of Children’s literature.  You can learn more about my story by reading the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Teaching College Students Using Kiddie Lit. But in case you don’t have time for that level of commitment, a list of some of my favorites are as follows:

  • A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith ViorstAlexander
  • Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
  • Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  • Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss
  • Benjie by Joan Lexau
  • Berenstain Bears and Too Much Pressure by Jan & Stan Berenstain
  • Big Bad Bruce by Bill Peet
  • Brave Irene by William Steig
  • But Not Billy by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
  • Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss
  • Eli by Bill Peet
  • Ella by Bill Peet
  • Farewell to Shady Glade by Bill Peet
  • Five Minutes’ Peace by Jill Murphy
  • Frederick by Leo Lionni
  • Gertrude McFuzz by Dr. SeussBig Bad Bruce
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • Hector, the Accordion-Nosed Dog by John Stadler
  • I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today by Dr. Seuss
  • I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew by Dr. Seuss
  • I Saw Esau by Iona & Peter Opie
  • If I Were in Charge of the World by Judith Viorst
  • I’m Mad at You! by William Cole
  • Ira Says Goodbye by Bernard Waber
  • Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber
  • It’s Not Fair by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Jennifer and Josephine by Bill Peet
  • King Looie Katz by Dr. Seuss
  • Let’s Be Enemies by Janice May Udry
  • Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky
  • My First Hanukkah Book by Aileen Fisher
  • My First Kwanzaa Book by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate
  • My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Deamons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, or Things by Judith Viorst
  • Nobody is Perfick by Bernard WaberHarold and the Purple Crayon
  • Nobody Stole the Pie by Sonia Levitin
  • Oh, the Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss
  • Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss
  • On Beyond Zebra by Dr. Seuss
  • A Person is Many Wonderful, Strange Things by Marsha Sinetar
  • Play Ball Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  • Pooh: Oh, Bother! No One’s Listening by Betty Birney
  • Pooh: Oh, Bother! Somebody’s Grumpy by Betty Birney
  • Rosie and Michael by Judith Viorst
  • Seven Candles for Kwanzaa by Andrea Pinkney
  • Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
  • Spinky Sulks by William Steig
  • Tacky the Penguin by Helen LesterFrederick
  • The Ant and the Elephant by Bill Peet
  • The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola
  • The Big Bragg by Dr. Seuss
  • The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
  • The Chanukkah Tree by Eric Kimmel
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • The Glunk That Got Thunk by Dr. Seuss
  • The Gnats of Knotty Pine by Bill Peet
  • The Hating Book by Charlotte Zolotow
  • The Island of Skog by Steven Kellogg
  • The King’s Stilts by Dr. Seuss
  • The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  • The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  • The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein
  • The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein
  • The Painter and the Wild Swans by Claude Clements
  • The Whingdingdilly by Bill PeetYellow and Pink
  • The Wump World by Bill Peet
  • The Zax by Dr. Seuss
  • Timmy Needs a Thinking Cap by Charlotte Steiner
  • What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss
  • When the Wind Stops by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? by Shel Silverstein
  • William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow
  • Yellow and Pink by William Steig
  • Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss

Yertle the TurtlePlease follow PCPop with Pablo to read the series of blog posts featuring many of the Children’s books listed above starting with one of my favorites, Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. If you too want to use Story Book Leadership techniques with your students, find out how to get started by reading the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Getting Started.


For more information on Story Book Leadership, read the PC Pop posts as follows:


To enjoy my Pinterest board on Story Book Leadership, click here.

Children Reading

Please suggest new books for the list — the list is a work in progress and will be updated as needed. What Children’s Books inspire you and would be perfect for teaching LEADERSHIP…and why? I would love to hear your suggestions and stories.

Story Book Leadership – Teaching College Students Using Kiddie Lit

In Big Bird, Books, Cat in Hat, Children's Literature, College Students, creativity, Dr. Seuss, Group Dynamics, Harold & the Purple Crayon, Leader, Leadership, Literacy Month, Lorax, Malavenda, Margaret Hamilton, Maurice Sendak, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Story Book Leadership, Susan Baum, Theodor Geisel, UConn, Wicked Witch of the West, Willimantic Public Library, Yertle the Turtle on March 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Cat in the Hat's Hat

On March 2, the world once again celebrated the brilliance of Dr. Seuss on the day of his birthday.  Dr. Seuss’ birthday is used to launch Dr. Seuss self portraitReading Month and Reading programs and special events in elementary schools around the country. This year Dr. Seuss’ birthday sparked me to share my passion — teaching LEADERSHIP to college students using children’s leadership. This is the first in a series of PCPop blog posts focusing on Story Book Leadership.  Stay tuned for my first book review in honor of Dr. Seuss — Yertle the Turtle. But first here is the story of how I became so passionate about the power and potential of stories originally written and published for pre-school children.

In the summer of 1997, I stumbled on a class that changed my life – the way I think, the way I teach, the way I approach my life.  The class wasthe University of Connecticut EPSY 5750 – Creativity.  It is a part of the curriculum for the Three Summers Sixth Year Program in the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. The Three Summer program was developed by the gifted education guru, Professor Joseph S. Renzulli, to give teachers from all over the world an opportunity to join a community of colleagues committed to being the best in developing the talent in each child, take classes and participate in a “confratute.” After three consecutive summers, these professionals earn a graduate level degree – a 6th year certificate.

Dr. Susan Baum, who is a member of the program’s summer faculty, was the professor for this particular class. I wasn’t matriculating as a part of the formal program but somehow I was able to enroll in this class as I was still working on the coursework for a PhD in Higher Education Administration at UConn. In the true spirit of creativity, Professor Baum gave us our project and instructed us to pick a topic that would truly excite us – that we were passionate about – something we always wanted to study in the past but needed permission to pursue.  She was giving us permission and inspired us. After weeks of reflection — my topic and my project was decided — using Children’s Literature to teach college students about LEADERSHIP.

Children’s books have always intrigued me. One of the most popular classes at UConn for many, many years was an English class known by all as “Kiddie Lit.” Francelia Butler was an inspiration. Professor Butler also knew a few famous people who visited our class.  I remember Big Bird, the guy who invented Silly Putty, Maurice Sendak, and the Wicked Witch of the West, Margaret Hamilton, coming to visit our little lecture hall in Storrs, Connecticut. At some point in my life I fell in love with and began to collect children’s literature.  The lessons found in these seemingly simple publications are powerful  — lessons about values, respect, courage, honesty, loyality, family, hope, persistence, love, service, humility, and yes, LEADERSHIP.  It wasn’t until I embarked on this journey – this class project – that I saw the true power of the word, the written word of Kiddie Lit.

I spent the entire summer of 1997 sitting on the floor of the Willimantic Public Library, in the Story Book Leadership -- Harold & the Purple Crayonchildren’s section, reading and reading and reading story books, children’s books, and picture books. I soon knew that I was on to something.  I found LEADERSHIP in so many stories that I decided to create a booklet which would serve as a directory for me and perhaps other higher education professionals.  My professional goals include teaching leadership by giving students opportunities to develop their own philosophy and skills — and to use any means to reach them and to teach them — including Children’s Literature.

The Children’s Literature Leadership Booklet that I created in this class during the summer of 1997 has become a valuable part of my professional library.  I refer to it often, and it hasn’t failed me yet. The list of my favorite Children’s books – those that have a profound impact on my teaching – have been compiled in a separate blog post.

Rediscovering the power and potential of using Children’s literature to teach leadership is merely one Story Book Leadership -- Yertle the Turtleexample of how this Creativity course has guided me these past 15 years. By the way, I got an A on the project and an A+ in the class but more importantly — that class, that summer, changed my life.

If you too want to use Story Book Leadership techniques with your students, find out how to get started by reading the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Getting Started. To see some of the best Children’s books focusing on various aspects of leadership, read the PCPop blog post: Story Book Leadership – Book List.


For more information on Story Book Leadership, read the PC Pop posts as follows: