Erik the Red is having a difficult time in school. He just can’t seem to get things right…questions that don’t exist that he gets wrong, kicking the ball the wrong way in soccer, and painting his hair…not red. What is going on with Erik?
Title: Erik the Red Sees Green
Author: Julie Anderson
Illustrator: David López
ISBN: 9780807521410 Language: English
Themes: colour blindness, expression, art
What’s it about?
Erik is an inquisitive kid who likes to wonder and ask questions. The problem is that he keeps getting things wrong – like answers on the test where there were no questions, passing to the wrong soccer team, and painting his hair as green for a self-portrait.
Great story flow with interesting main and support characters. Funny and yet educational illustrations that work really well with the text.
Erik is the main character and this story begins with his frustrations. He hadn’t had similiar issues the previous year with the classroom he was in and he can’t work out why he keeps getting so many things wrong. Also, he is a bit frustrated as always being known as “Erik the Red”. It isn’t until he is in art class that a classmate notices that Erik has painted a self-portrait and in it he has green hair. The classmate says that her father is colour blind too like he is.
I really like that the author/illustrator team tried to show what it was that Erik sees rather than just telling. Also, it shows the process of him going to be assessed and then the changes that are implemented so that Erik can function in the classroom.
Another key positive about this book is that our main character becomes simply “Erik” and chooses to continue the paint the way he sees the world versus painting it “correctly”. I for one remember being berated by teachers in art classes because it wasn’t “right” and I’m pleased to see a book that encourages expression through art without rules.
As a bonus this book includes some notes about colour blindness at the end which is helpful for parents/teachers planning for a unit.
A great book for the classroom to teach about diversity, disabilities, and art expression.