The Crayon Man author, Natascha Biebow, talks about ‘Why Reading Non-Fiction Books is the Bees’ Knees!’

The Crayon Man, by Natascha Biebow & Steven Salerno, is a colourful non fiction picture book which tells the story of Edwin Binney, the inventor of Crayola Crayons. It’s an absolutely fascinating read, crayons are such an integral part of our daily life but we had never considered how they were invented before!

Natascha Biebow, author of The Crayon Man, has joined us on Story Snug to tell us more about her fabulous picture book and also to tell us…

Why Reading Non-Fiction Books is the Bees’ Knees!

I love picture books! For me, they are the most perfect genre that can be enjoyed by big and small children and grown-ups too. Sharing a picture book with a young child is pure joy – reading the story, poring over the pictures and cuddling up close . . . and, in the case of non-fiction picture books, discovering new facts!

The Crayon Man by Natascha Biebow and Steven Salerno

This year, my picture book THE CRAYON MAN: THE TRUE STORY OF THE INVENTION OF CRAYOLA CRAYONS, illustrated by Steven Salerno, was published. It’s the true story of Edwin Binney whose knack for listening and making what people needed led to the invention of one of the world’s best-loved toys – Crayola crayons. It reads like a picture book story, but it’s ALL true!

Young children are just discovering the bigger world and exploring new ideas and facts and so sharing non-fiction picture books is a fantastic way to learn together. The story medium makes the facts fun and accessible, developing empathy and inspiring curiosity.

As a picture book author, I’m inspired by these true stories and always looking for new ways to tell them so they will engage young readers. I loved learning all about Edwin Binney, digging for the facts, really listening for the STORY. I discovered something remarkable – Binney absolutely loved nature and color.

The Crayon Man - Story Snug
The Crayon Man by Natascha Biebow and Steven Salerno

He relished being outdoors, hiking and fishing. He brought beautiful bouquets of flowers from his seaside garden into the office to inspire his team at Crayola. It was this passion for color and nature, as well as the encouragement of his schoolteacher wife, Alice, that motivated Binney to create the crayons so they would be bright, sturdy and last a long, long time.

The Crayon Man - Story Snug
The Crayon Man by Natascha Biebow and Steven Salerno

Because of his vision, today children everywhere are empowered to dream and create in colour.

The Crayon Man - Story Snug
The Crayon Man by Natascha Biebow and Steven Salerno

Here are some other inspiring true stories you might enjoy sharing with the young readers in your lives:


FEATHERS Not Just for Flying



SHARK LADY The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist


Swirl by Swirl Spirals in Nature

WILD HORSE ANNIE Friend of Mustangs

Thank you so much for joining us Natascha and for recommending so many great books. We’re reviewing more and more non fiction picture books on Story Snug, there are so many fascinating books on a wide range of subjects currently being published. If you click on the non fiction tag at the end of this post you can see which non fiction books we think are ‘the bees knees’!

About Natascha Biebow

Natascha Biebow - author of The Crayon Man - Story Snug

Natascha Biebow’s favourite crayon color is periwinkle blue because it makes her heart sing.  She loves to draw and make stuff, just like the inventor of the Crayola crayons. She lives in London, where she writes, edits, coaches and mentors children’s book authors and illustrators at Blue Elephant Storyshaping, and is the long-time Regional Advisor of SCBWI British Isles. In 2018, she was awarded an MBE for her services to children’s writers and illustrators.

Natascha’s website / Facebook / Linked In

The UK Federation of Children’s Book Groups spends the whole of November celebrating non fiction, they have ideas and information on how you can celebrate non fiction books on their website.

You can see more of our favourite non fiction picture books on our Pinterest board.

10 thoughts on “The Crayon Man author, Natascha Biebow, talks about ‘Why Reading Non-Fiction Books is the Bees’ Knees!’

  1. What a fantastic round-up of non-fiction books! I always think adults can learn from kids’ non-fiction books too. The Crayon Man sounds fascinating. I must admit I’ve never given any thought to how crayons were invented.

  2. The Crayon Man does sound like an interesting read. Everyone has used Crayola Crayons but I have never thought about who invented them.
    What a fab selection of books! #MMBC

  3. Wow – never knew about the Crayon Man and we should really when we have had crayons as such a big part of our lives as children and as parents. I like the idea of the flowers and the seaside – one of my dreams is to be a florist by the sea listening to stories. Lots of other good ones in your round up too #ReadWithMe

    • Crayons are one of the many items that we take for granted without realising where they come from. It’s fascinating for both adults and children to discover how they were invented 🙂

  4. What a clever idea for a book. I’ve never heard of Edwin Binney. But a great invention. The crayon (and also coloured pencil) are so much better than the felt tip pen or biro from a plastic waste point of view.

    • We’d never heard of Edwin Binney before but one of my prized possessions as a child was my box of Crayola crayons 🙂 Felt tips drive me nuts, they dry out and can’t be washed out of clothes!

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