A Picture for Harold’s Room…Shoebox Crafts for Kids

Do you read with your child every day? It’s fun and builds vocabulary!

Would you like a great list of books to choose from? Head over to Perfect Picture Book Friday with Susanna Leonard Hill and friends.

My Perfect Picture Book recommendation for today is an old classic from master storyteller and illustrator, Crockett Johnson.


A Picture for Harold’s Room

Written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson

Publisher: Scholastic Book Services (Harper Row) (1960)

Ages: 3 and up


Imagination, creative expression, adventure, there’s no place like home, art, problem solving

Opening Lines:

“I want a picture to put on my wall” He drew a house with his purple crayon.


Little Harold thinks the wall in his bedroom looks too bare. He takes his purple crayon and begins to draw. Thus starts an adventure for the little boy who gets into and out of trouble as he draws a new world for himself.

Why  I like this book

This is another classic picture book from author/illustrator Crockett Johnson of Harold and the Purple Crayon and The Carrot Seed fame. I love the simplistic pictures and text…all about problem solving and conflict resolution. Very young children will enjoy the pictures and story…older ones will appreciate the page turning tension and suspense…will Harold ever get back to his room?

How a parent can use this book:

  • As a lovely read-aloud
  • To show children that each of us is the ‘master of our fate’
  • As an introduction to creative art expression
  • To help kids realize that every problem has a solution


Related Activities:



Spring is here! Why not help your child put together several art supplies in a little box to keep on hand for outings. Bring it to the park, keep one in the car, take it along for doctor’s appointments. What should you put in it? Small pad of paper and a box of crayons are the basics…but you can add a glue stick, a pair of blunt safety scissors and a sheet of stickers…hours of fun and very little expense.

You can also use shoeboxes (THEY ARE FREE…most shoe stores or department stores will give you as many as you want) to make dioramas, doll houses, buses and other vehicles…here’s an awesome link for many step-by-step instructions:


spring chick

The voting is still going on over at Susanna’s In Just Spring Contest…if you haven’t already voted, hop on over…the seven stories that made it to the finals are AWESOME! http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-in-just-spring-contest-finalists.html



Do you want to encourage your child’s creativity? Show Me How gives you 100 picture book suggestions and a simple arts and crafts activity for each one! The book makes spending time with kids fun AND easy!

  You can click this link to purchase a copyShow Me How Build Your Child's Self-Esteem, Positive Parental Participation

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever - Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (PomegranateKids, March 15, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, Feb 13, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, May 1, 2019); MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020) picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my young grandson.

Posted on March 22, 2013, in Perfect Picture Book Friday, Shoebox Crafts for Kids and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. Sounds like a very entertaining book. I used to baby sit for a family where the family enouraged artistic expression. They let their children color, paint and draw on one designated wall of the family room. At age 16, I was horrified.


    • I can just imagine…and you were probably brought up to NEVER write on the walls.:) Thanks for sharing your experience, Pat…I’m sure most of us would have felt the same way…but how wonderful of that family to encourage creative expression.:)


  2. How have I missed this one? I loved Harold & his crayon – so glad you called it to our attention.


  3. Reblogged this on Event Planning Mommy and commented:
    Thought this was well worth re-blogging!


  4. Cute! I like the idea! 😀


  5. This classic needed to be in our PPBF list. Thank you, Vivian. And, yes, shoe boxes are a source of endless possibilities!


    • And paper plates and brown paper lunch bags…with a pack of crayons, a pair of scissors, a little glue and some old magazines…a child could have ENDLESS fun and learning opportunities.:) Glad you liked the PPBF choice, Joanna.:)


  6. Great choice today! My Mom Person’s kids had walls to draw on. And I get to make mudprints on the floor! They don’t stay around for long though. And shoeboxed are so much better than ipads!


  7. We love the Harold books. And we love shoeboxes too, the kids find new uses for them all the time.


  8. I cannot believe after all these years and my love of Harold that I didn’t know there was another Harold book!!! Thank goodness you are here to tell me! 🙂 Totally getting this immediately. Thanks so much for adding it to our list 🙂 And I love the shoebox idea! And thanks for the shout-out!


  9. When we first checked a Harold book out of the library, I wasn’t sure it it would work for “today’s” child. But my kids LOVED “Harold and the Purple Crayon” and all his self-drawn adventures. Great pick, Vivian!


    • Isn’t it amazing how relevant and timeless these classic picture books are, Kirsten? I know that many in our 12×12 group will produce classic picture books that will be enjoyed by kids thirty or forty years in the future.:) Glad you enjoyed this one!   


  10. Never thought of asking at the shoe store for extra boxes. Dang! I use them for SOOOOOO many things. Love Harold (can one not?) but I don’t know this one, so thanks for putting this one on your virtual shelf!


    • Good thing virtual shelves are ‘virtual’…because the bookshelves in my house are jam-packed with no room to breathe.:) Glad this book is one that is ‘new’ to you, Julie! Re the shoeboxes…many of our local stores will put dozens of boxes aside if you call and ask for them…some organizations use them for school projects…I can remember when I was in 1st grade (oh my gosh…like a MILLION years ago)…each child filled a shoebox with paste, crayons, etc. to donate to the Red Cross…I guess it was kind of lke a little CARE package for kids who had lost stuff due to flood or fire.    


      • I’ve wanted to start a ‘drive’ at the end of the school year, to collect supplies people think they don’t need any more because most people I know throw stuff away and buy all new supplies in August. There are so many families in every community who could still use them – and teachers too! Schools should do this on their own and have them ready for those who need them – or also don’t believe in so much waste!


        • That’s a GREAT idea, Julie…maybe we can get together on this and start a Colorado initiative…not sure how we would get the word out and then collect the stuff…distributing could be done through local Head Start or other channels. Or perhaps just mount a campaign to encourage people to donate these things to local family shelters. There is so much waste…many parents throw away a box of crayons because a couple of sticks are broken…what joy a child with NO crayons would have to get that.:) And the waste is also a ‘green’ issue…energy goes into making new stuff each time…and the landfills are getting higher.


  11. Brought up never allowing to write on walls this would have truly shocked me… But what a way to express oneself. Love this!


  12. That’s Harold of Harold and the Purple Crayon, eh? I remember being a senior in high school and looking for a story to use for my state storytelling contest and coming across Harold for the first time and being horrified that he was scribbling himself such a big mess. Now that I’m older and wiser, I can appreciate his spontaneity and verve!


    • Yes, and also of The Carrot Seed…although I don’t know if the character in that story is named Harold..but it looks JUST like him.:)
      Thanks so much for sharing your experience with the character/book…how did you do in the storytelling contest?
      I, too, appreciate the spontaneity and creative expression that lives in these Harold books, Barbara…more than I did years ago.


  13. Great recommendation! It’s new to me, too.


  14. Thanks so much for adding this goldie oldie to the list, Vivian. This is one I’m not familiar with but should have come across when I was reading to my sons. I will look it up in the library next time I go.

    Your shoe box idea is classic. The way you encourage an imagination is classic and I am glad you never run out of ideas. 🙂


  15. Hi Vivian, the book sounds delightful. And when I was a kid I loved storing my special things in a shoebox, especially after I decorated it. Although I was disappointed not to see your story in the top seven, I’m glad it was acknowledged. And Susanna’s right, writing is a subjective thing. Keep writing…you have talent and encourage your hubby to paint a book for you. I don’t like deadlines either, but then again who does?


    • Thank you so much, Tracy. Your support and encouragement is much appreciated! I’ll be bringing the story to my local critique group when it meets on Thursday…perhaps they can help me polish it for submission…it’s a story that needs to be shared with kids…especially those in military families.


  1. Pingback: Picture Book Review: The Little Fire Engine | Vivian Kirkfield - Picture Books Help Kids Soar

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