Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Was Harold Here With His Purple Crayon?

If you've ever driven through a Southern California neighborhood in late May to early June, and looked up at the sky through a canopy of purple jacaranda trees, you'd swear that Harold had been there with his purple crayon!
"And he set off on his walk, taking his big purple crayon with him..."

A couple of weeks ago, knowing the jacaranda trees would be in full bloom, I made sure to drive through the cute town of Fullerton, where I couldn't resist stopping to take a few photos.  I rolled down my car window to let in the air, thick with the scent of the sweet purple flowers!

Since the blooms last for a total of about six weeks, some wilted purple blossoms were already starting to fall to the ground. And now that it's mid-June, I can picture the streets covered in a carpet of purple!

Katherine Olivia "Kate" Sessions is to thank for these gorgeous jacaranda trees.  She was a horticulturist (formerly a teacher) best known as the landscape architect for San Diego's Balboa Park.  In 1892 she asked city officials to lease 30 acres of "City Park" to her for a nursery.  

In return, she would plant 100 trees per year throughout the park and donate others to the city for planting elsewhere.  She brought jacarandas to Southern California in the early part of the 20th Century.

Reading about Katherine Sessions, I couldn't help but think of Crockett Johnson's "Harold".  Katherine wanted a garden for her city, so she planted it.  Harold, a curious four-year-old boy with a purple crayon, created an imaginative world of his own by simply drawing it.


  1. How lovely. A friend visited from Australia recently, she told us about the Jacaranda trees in her garden.

    1. Valerie - that made me curious! I looked up its origins: Jacaranda is a genus of 49 species of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae, native Brazil and Argentina. It has been planted widely in Asia, especially in Nepal. It is found throughout the Americas and Caribbean, and has been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, India, Fiji, Portugal, Spain and parts of Africa.
      I guess they like the heat! :)