Erik the Red Sees Green

Erik the Red9781480453845_p0_v1_s260x420Erik the Red Sees Green

Julie Anderson, Author

David Lopez, Illustrator

Albert Whitman & Company, Fiction, Oct. 15, 2013

Suitable for Ages: 2-7

Themes: Color Blindness, School, Friendship, Teamwork

Opening: “Erik the Red was a wonderful kid. Ask anyone. He wondered if fish got thirsty. He wondered why he couldn’t tickle himself…Sometimes he wondered what life would be like without a nickname, but from the day he was born he was Erik the Red.”

Synopsis: At school, everything seems to be going wrong for Erik.  In soccer, he kicks the ball to the wrong team. In class he messes up his reading homework and misses half the math problems written on the board. Erik is teased in art class when he draws a self-portrait and paints his own hair green. A trip to the doctor confirmed that Erik’s painting isn’t wrong — he is color blind.

What a like about this book: Julie Anderson’s book is an uplifting story about a strong and self-confident boy  who seems to do everything wrong, but doesn’t know why. Once he understands his visual issues, he takes charge and talks to his class about his color blindness and invites them to ask questions. Erik sees colors, but just differently. He says, “I like to think I am color vision quirky!” Because his color deficiency is diagnosed, his teacher makes black-and-white copies of math assignments. His parents and friends jump in with other solutions to help Erik in a positive way.  This is an excellent story about everyone working together to help Erik. Even young children will understand the language. David Lopez’s illustrations are colorful and create a happy atmosphere for Erik.

Resources:  The author has included a double-page spread of information about color vision deficiency. The book is a great resource for parents, teachers and children. Visit the Color Blind Awareness website, where you can actually experience color deficiency and learn about why it effects more men then women.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

53 thoughts on “Erik the Red Sees Green

  1. Erik, a kid after my own heart, in the adult world Erik’s art would be unique and admired. Historically, the nick name “Erik the Red” well I’m sure entertaining for some.


    • Yes, it is a wonderful educational story to help kids understand color blindness. Yes, the color combinations you mention are dominant in illustrations and covers because they are appealing.


  2. Well, I can relate to this one! I’m color vision deficient too! i think that I don’t see quite the same colors as most humans do. I’ve never seen a book about this, so this one is pretty cool. I’ll be looking for this one. Thanks!


    • Yes, I liked this book a lot. I especially like the site I shared where you can click on pictures to see how someone who is color blind views sees the scenario you do, depending on the color deficiency.


    • Yes, I am very happy to see a book for kids who deal with a form of color blindness. You can click on the site I shared to get an idea where your father’s color deficiencies are and how he views the same scene you do. There are more boys with color blindness.


  3. Another great subject to tackle in a pb. I would have been happy with him making mistakes without color blindness and being accepted too.


  4. Did you know that this book is biographical? 😉 My name is Erik, spelled that way because a Norse lady my Mom worked with said to name me the Norse way, I love vikings (AKA I am Erik the Red – my favorite viking), and I am color blind! (classifyed as Red/Green colorblindness to be exact! 🙂 ) I think I have to get this book!!! 😆


    • Erik, that is so uncanny that I review a book with your name on it and you are color blind. I was born with a congenital eye problem and am considered legally blind in my right eye. Every one tried to make a big deal of (teachers especially), but it wasn’t a big deal to me because I didn’t know the difference. There is a depth perception others see that I may not see. I don’t know or care. You may feel the same way.


      • I really don’t know any difference. So I guess I don’t care too. 🙂 I know I can’t see some colors on top of other colors – like I can’t see orange on top of gray or brown on top of green but I don’t think I’m missing anything. I was a little freaked out when I took the colorblind test and everyone else could see the pictures and I couldn’t (I think I was like 8), but I think it’s no big deal now. I think it’s great when people are really okay with things “wrong” with them. I want to invent a reverse colorblind code – like make a t-shirt that says “If you can read this, you are colorblind!” 🙂


  5. Pat, I am never disappointed when I come to your PPBF post…you always provide a book that treats difficult subjects with sensitivity. I love that the main character takes charge when he discovers what the problem is and I also love that everyone in his life band together to find helpful solutions. Great review!


    • Thank you, you are so kind. This book is very well written, as all books puslished by Albert Whitman & Co. The author and illustrator were great collaborators on this book. Our Erik mentioned in comments below that he’s color blind. He was pleased to see his name on the book.

      I feel the same way when I click on your blog always knowing it will be good — and I’m especially interested in your crafts.


  6. Colour-blindness is something that I know so little of. What a strange thing! And what a great topic for a book to raise awareness. I always look forward to reading what you post here.


    • Thanks Niamh! I didn’t know a lot about it, other than more boys than girls have it. The site I included lets you experience how you view a picture and how a person with a color deficiency sees the the same picture. Very interesting. Turns out our Erik is color blind. See his comments below.


  7. You never fail to come up with a unique topic in the stories you find. I never thought of nor have I ever seen a PB about colour-blindness. This is very interesting. Thanks for bringing it to PPBF, Pat.


  8. This sounds great, Pat! And I’m excited to see it (and add it to our list) because I haven’t seen a whole lot of books on this topic and color blindness is fairly common. My nephew has it. I think it’s great to have PB that explains it and addresses it in a positive way. Thanks so much for sharing!


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