Perspective | A 9-year-old girl got people to finally stop thinking of the peach-colored crayon as the ‘skin-color’ crayon (2023)




One day people might walk through a Virginia museum, pause in front of an exhibit and wonder how a 9-year-old girl made a box of crayons feel worthy of display.

Here’s what they should know about that girl:

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She never expected her story to become part of a museum’s collection.

She never expected lawmakers to name her in proclamations or news crews to want to film her.

She never expected that a moment in class would spark an idea, which would evolve into action, which would lead to strangers across the country talking about identity and race and childhood.

“I was thinking at first it was going to be a small project, that only a few people would know about it at my school,” Bellen Woodard tells me on a recent evening.

Her voice is scratchy from a cold and too many demands on her lately to speak, to tell her story yet again, but she doesn’t let that slow her words. She is eager to talk about what came before these recent whirlwind weeks.


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The whole thing, Bellen explains, started in her third-grade classroom in Loudoun County, Va.

“My friends were asking for the ‘skin-color’ crayon,” she says. She knew that meant the peach-colored crayon. She also knew her skin wasn’t the color of peaches. She is the only black girl in her grade.

Bellen went home that day to talk to her mom, Tosha Woodard, about how that question made her feel. Her mother uses the word “uncomfortable.” Bellen describes it as “disincluded.” Both mom and daughter remember their conversation unfolding the same way. Bellen questioned whether there was a better response in that situation than automatically handing over the expected crayon. Her mom offered a good solution.

“Just hand them the brown one instead,” her mom suggested.

Bellen came up with a better one.

“I think I just want to ask them what color they want because it could be any number of beautiful colors,” Bellen said.


So that’s what she did. She started saying those words. She then heard her teacher say them, too. And soon, her entire class was talking about skin color in a way that went beyond peach.

Seeing that shift sparked something in her, her mom says. It made her daughter realize, she says, “If this could happen here, we could make this happen anywhere.”

“I felt it should also be in other schools because everyone else should know that there is more than one skin color,” Bellen says.

From that goal grew the project, “More than Peach.”

Bellen came up with the idea of creating kits that could be donated to classrooms and children who might not be able to afford art supplies. Each kit, she decided, should contain a drawing pad, a personal postcard from her, a standard box of crayons (or colored pencils), and a special box of Crayola’s Multicultural crayons (or colored pencils). In that box of skin-tone hues is the color “peach.” But also there: “apricot,” “burnt sienna” and “mahogany.”


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Bellen’s initial hope was to get the multicultural kits into all elementary school classes and middle school art classes in Loudoun County. For the first batch of supplies, she used about $200 she had saved from modeling children’s clothes for Target (yes, that’s why she looks familiar). Her school also hosted a fundraising drive.

Since then, though, she has had to adjust her goal. She has seen donations come in and the demand spread.

“It’s been crazy,” her mom says after clicking through another full inbox. Many messages are from people who found their way to the “More than Peach” website. “They just come all day. From all over the country.”

They come from California and Georgia and other counties in Virginia. They come from parents and teachers and people who just want be a part of what Bellen started.


Bellen is aware that she is standing in the middle of something that is much bigger than her. She knows that the conversations swirling around her aren’t just about crayons.

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She is young for a fourth-grader because she skipped a grade, but she speaks at times like an old soul who knows when to drops pearls of wisdom. On a recent morning when a first-grader asked her why her hair was “so crazy,” Bellen considered her large Afro, which has been both a source of compliments and teasing in her life. She then told the girl, “Maybe God wanted it to match my personality, because I’m all over the place.”

When I ask her how she came up with the idea to use the multicultural crayons, she tells me that she first saw them in second grade.

“But I never really thought about them,” she says. “They were just another pack of crayons to me. Now, they are more than just a pack of crayons. Now, they are a kind of change.”

Her mom says that she leaves many conversations with her daughter, the youngest of her five children, in “awe of her intuition and critical thinking.”


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“She has this way of just connecting the dots, without being overbearing,” she says. “Just really being considerate and thoughtful.”

At the same time, she says, there is a tendency to describe young black girls as “strong,” and she has already started to see people pin that word to her daughter, a girl who recently cried and climbed into her parent’s bed for cuddles because she couldn’t find her team leotard for her first gymnastics competition. She ended up wearing one that did not match her teammates.

“She can be brave, but strong she is not,” Tosha Woodard says. “That belief that somehow a kid of color is supposed to have some level of strength, that somehow they can withstand more, we have to do away with that. . . . We have to help empower our children so they know they’re already perfect as they are.”


They should know, she says, that they don’t always need to have the answers but that they need to be able to talk about what makes them uncomfortable.

Think for a moment of the millions of peach-colored crayons that have passed for generations between children’s hands as a robotic response to coloring faces. My classmates did it. Your classmates did it.

Bellen’s classmates no longer do it.

That matters.

“Wow. You are a change maker!!!!” wrote one person on Twitter. “Earlier this year I had a discussion with my first graders when I heard students referring to the peach crayon as ‘skin color.’ ”

“Thank you so much for your courage to speak out so that students of color can be represented authentically when completing art assignments in school,” reads a note to Bellen from Tracy Jackson, the head of counseling services for Loudoun County Public Schools.


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Bellen has also received proclamations from the Leesburg mayor and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. She has been asked to speak in front of her school board, and she has received an invitation from a state delegate to be honored on the House floor.

The most recent acknowledgment of her effort — one that has left her parents feeling “amazed and floored” — came just a few days ago. The Virginia Museum of History & Culture reached out to ask if it could add one of her kits to its collection.

“As part of its mission, the VMHC is committed to collecting, preserving, and sharing Virginia history — including history that is being made today,” curator Karen Sherry said through a spokesperson for the museum. “We were moved by Ms. Woodard’s initiative to foster greater inclusivity and representation for people of color, and would like to add the story of this young activist to our collection.”


When Bellen’s parents told her she was going to be in a museum, it was so far from her expectations that her response was more fourth-grade girl than old soul.

She asked if the museum planned to make her into a wax figure.

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When did Crayola stop making skin color? ›

Same color as "Flesh" (1949–1956, 1958–1962), "Pink Beige" (1956–1958), and "Peach" (1962–present). Discontinued by 1910.

Who invented skin color crayons? ›

In 1992, Crayola introduced Multicultural Crayons in response to feedback received from consumers and educators. The colors were chosen from our standard selection, and represent skin tones of the world. Black and white are included for blending other colors.

What color crayon is skin color? ›

“Earlier this year I had a discussion with my first graders when I heard students referring to the peach crayon as 'skin color. ' ”

Do Crayola Crayons have lead in them? ›

Question: Do Crayola Crayons have Lead? Answer: Yes they do, at levels considered safe for toys but unsafe for food.

Does Crayola say GREY or gray? ›

How Does Crayola Spell Gray? Crayola spells the color gray with an A.

What is the oldest Crayola color? ›

The first box of Crayola Crayons was produced in 1903 as an 8 count box. It sold for a nickel and contained the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown and black.

What was Crayola originally called? ›

Crayola LLC, formerly the Binney & Smith Company, is an American manufacturing company specializing in art supplies.

What was the first skin tone in the world? ›

Dark skin. All modern humans share a common ancestor who lived around 200,000 years ago in Africa. Comparisons between known skin pigmentation genes in chimpanzees and modern Africans show that dark skin evolved along with the loss of body hair about 1.2 million years ago and that this common ancestor had dark skin.

What are Crayola's new colors? ›

The colors of the new Glow Makers from Crayola are: Radioactive Red, Hazmat Orange, Laser Lemon, Gamma Green, and Blutonium.

What Crayola colors have been retired? ›

1990 - For the first time in Crayola history eight colors were retired and placed in the Crayola Hall of Fame: maize, lemon yellow, blue gray, raw umber, green blue, orange red, orange yellow, and violet blue.

What is America's favorite crayon color? ›

Blue was voted the most popular CRAYOLA Crayon color.

What color is GREY skin? ›

What is gray skin? Pallor, or pale skin, and grayish or blue skin are a result of a lack of oxygenated blood. Your blood carries oxygen around your body, and when this is disrupted, you see a discoloration.

Is Crayola toxic for dogs? ›

My Dog Ate a Crayon. Should I Worry? Probably not! Commercially-available crayons, including those made by Crayola, are non-toxic.

What happens if my dog ate a crayon? ›

As mentioned earlier, crayons can represent a physical threat to your dog. If he swallows a large piece of a crayon or eats a ton of them, they can cause him to choke or block up his intestines. This can represent a serious medical emergency, so you'll want to head over to your vet ASAP.

Can eating a crayon make you sick? ›

Crayons are generally made from wax and coloring. The ingredients are considered non-toxic and most cases will not require medical attention. However, if a crayon is eaten, it may cause an upset stomach. Additionally, crayons can be a choking hazard, just like any toy that can fit into a child's mouth.

Is gray with an A or E? ›

Grey and gray are two different spellings of the same word. Gray is more common in the U.S., while grey is more common in other English-speaking countries. In proper names—like Earl Grey tea and the unit Gray, among others—the spelling stays the same, and they need to be memorized.

Does grey have an A or E? ›

Gray and grey are both common spellings of the color between black and white. Gray is more frequent in American English, whereas grey is more common in British English.

Is Macaroni and Cheese a Crayola color? ›

Mac N Cheese. Fun Fact: In 1993, Crayola named one of their crayon colors “macaroni and cheese.”

What is the oldest color name? ›

17 Obscure Colors You've Never Heard Of
  • Gamboge.
  • Glaucous.
  • Sarcoline.
  • Skobeloff.
  • Smaragdine.
  • Wenge.
  • Vantablack.
  • Zaffre.
Dec 3, 2021

How many Crayola colors are there 2022? ›

You can view the 120 Crayola Crayon colors we currently produce by visiting the Explore Color section of our website, In addition, we offer a complimentary "Color Your Own" crayon chart that can be completed with a Crayola 120-count box!

What are the 64 colors in a crayon box? ›

Each set of 64 includes Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Green, Violet, Brown, Black, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet, Carnation Pink, Red-Orange, Red-Violet, White, Yellow-Green, Yellow-Orange, Scarlet, Green-Yellow, Cerulean, Bluetiful, Indigo, Violet-Red, Apricot, Gray, Purple Moutains Magesty, Cornflower, Sea Green, Granny Smith ...

What is the oldest crayon? ›

Archaeologists at the University of York say they may have found one of the earliest examples of a crayon: a 10,000-year-old elongated piece of ochre with a sharpened end. The tool was found near an ancient lake in North Yorkshire, a landscape with a rich Mesolithic archaeological record.

What language is Crayola? ›

The languages are English, Spanish and French.

What did Crayola name the new blue? ›

Meet Bluetiful Thanks to our fans from North America Crayola's new blue has a name!

What country has the darkest skin? ›

They found the darkest skin in the Nilo-Saharan pastoralist populations of eastern Africa, such as the Mursi and Surma, and the lightest skin in the San of southern Africa, as well as many shades in between, as in the Agaw people of Ethiopia.

Was the first human black? ›

Answer and Explanation: Yes, the first humans were almost certainly black. The human species evolved in East Africa about 200,000 years ago. Black skin was necessary for survival in this hot and sunny climate.

What is the real color of humans? ›

Overview. Human skin color can range from very dark brown to nearly colorless (appearing pinkish white due to the blood in the skin) in different people. Skin color is determined by the amount and type of the pigment melanin in the skin. On average, women have slightly lighter skin than men.

Is there a color that nobody has seen? ›

The rare colour is termed 'True Cyan'. An optical illusion that has got everybody hooked features a “never seen before” shade of Cyan appearing on the screen. The rare colour termed 'True Cyan' largely escapes the human eye due to the fact that it is extremely difficult for electronic devices to produce them.

What is the rarest crayon color? ›

7 Rarest Crayola Crayon Colors
  • Indian Red – Somewhat Rare.
  • Eric Carle Caterpillar Green – Special Mention.
  • Gamboge Yellow – Considered Rare.
  • Mirtilla Blueberry – Considered Rare.
  • The Color Purple – One of a Kind.
  • Light Blue – Very Rare.
  • C-Rex – Most Rare.

Why did Crayola remove dandelion? ›

EASTON, Pa. (AP) — Dandelion has gone to seed.

Crayola is removing the color from all of its crayon boxes to make way for a new color that it plans to announce on Friday — National Crayon Day. The company announced dandelion's departure via Twitter on Thursday.

What color is Crayola Fuzzy Wuzzy? ›

blue w/ shimmering silver.

What was the first 8 colors in Crayola? ›

As a way to meet the need for safe, quality, affordable wax crayons, Binney & Smith sold the first box of Crayola crayons in 1903. The box included eight crayons in basic colors—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, and black—and cost a nickel.

What is America's lucky color? ›

Green. In Ireland, the UK and the United States, green is often associated with good luck and good fortune.

What is the most popular color in America? ›

WHAT IS THE MOST POPULAR COLOR IN AMERICA? During a recent study at the University of Maryland, sociologist Philip Cohen asked nearly 2,000 men and women a simple question: “What's your favorite color?” Blue turned out to be the most popular across the board, followed by green for men and purple for women.

Is Indian red still a Crayola color? ›

The color still exists. Only the name was changed. The name was changed to chestnut.

What skin tone does gray hair look good on? ›

First of all, consider your skin tone. Silver grey hair will look best on olive and fair skin with yellow undertones. If you have a pink tone, your skin may appear red and irritated with a cool grey hue.

What skin tone looks good with grey? ›

The general rule of thumb is that skin with cool undertones look best with greys, browns, blues, greens and purples. Skin with warm undertones look best with either bright or light colors. And skin with neutral undertones looks great in bold, bright colors.

Does grey look good on black skin? ›

Best colors to wear with a dark skin tone.

Your skin looks great with a variety of colors including: white, khaki, dark purple or plum, red, gray, light blue, orange, gold, or pink. Gold jewelry is your best look! Avoid black, navy, dark brown, and light green as these colors tend to clash with your skin tone.

What is the most toxic thing to give a dog? ›

Toxic food for dogs
  1. Onions, garlic and chives. The onion family, whether dry, raw or cooked, is particularly toxic to dogs and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage. ...
  2. Chocolate. ...
  3. Macadamia nuts. ...
  4. Corn on the cob. ...
  5. Avocado. ...
  6. Artificial sweetener (Xylitol) ...
  7. Alcohol. ...
  8. Cooked bones.

What is the most toxic thing in dogs? ›

Some of the more hazardous edible items include:
  • Onions.
  • Salt.
  • Tobacco products (including e-cigarettes and their refills)
  • Xylitol (a sweetener found in products such as some sugar-free chewing gum, sugar-free candy, cough syrup, mouthwash, and toothpaste)
  • Yeast products (like raw bread dough)
Sep 1, 2021

What paint is toxic to dogs? ›

Lead-based paint is the most serious health concern in pets. Lead-based paints have been banned in the United States since 1978, but they are not regulated in all countries. Older buildings, painted products from non-regulated countries, and some oil-based artists' paints may contain led.

Can a dog digest a candle? ›

Wax candles are typically made from paraffin, beeswax, or soy. None of these materials tend to be poisonous to dogs. When ingested, they tend to soften and pass through the dog's intestinal tract without issue. However, large pieces my cause an intestinal blockage.

Can pencils poison dogs? ›

Pencils Are Not Toxic For Dogs

They're made with graphite (a form of carbon), and they have been for at least 200 years or so. So, you don't need to worry about your dog suffering from lead poisoning after he eats a pencil.

What should I do if my dog ate a pencil? ›

A good example of items that might cause an obstruction in dogs is a pencil; however, there is no cause for alarm as most of the modern pencils are totally non-toxic and contain no chemicals that may represent a danger to your furry friend.

Why is my kid eating crayons? ›

Crowley goes on to say, “When kids have iron-deficiency anemia, they don't have enough iron to produce hemoglobin. This causes some strange eating habits – some cases have been linked to children and adults consuming non-edible foods like ice, clay and dirt.” Pica. Eating crayons is also associated with this condition.

Is there animal fat in Crayola markers? ›

The Distinctive Crayola Smell Is Beef Fat

As previously stated, stearic acid is the primary ingredient in most markers, and Crayola markers aren't an exception. Beef tallow, often known as beef fat, is the source of stearic acid. This component is used to give products a waxy texture.

Are there edible crayons? ›

Honeysticks 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons - Jumbo Size Crayons for Toddlers and Kids - Easy to Hold and Use - Child Safe, Non Toxic Crayons - Food Grade Colorings - 6 Vibrant Colors - Handmade - 6 Pack.

What are the controversial Crayola colors? ›

Crayola introduced the controversial “flesh” color in 1949 but renamed it “flesh tint” and “pink beige” before finally settling on “peach”– as its known today, according to the website.

How many retired Crayola colors are there? ›

Did you know there are over 500 Crayola retired color names?

What 8 colors were Crayola in 1903? ›

As a way to meet the need for safe, quality, affordable wax crayons, Binney & Smith sold the first box of Crayola crayons in 1903. The box included eight crayons in basic colors—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, and black—and cost a nickel.

What were the original 64 Crayola colors? ›

orchid, lavender, carnation pink, thistle, red violet, violet red, brick red, magenta, maroon, mulberry, indian red, red, melon, salmon, orange red, red orange, orange, flesh, maize, goldenrod, yellow orange, apricot, orange yellow, yellow, lemon yellow, green yellow, spring green, yellow green, sea green, olive green, ...

What Crayola names are banned? ›

1990 - For the first time in Crayola history eight colors were retired and placed in the Crayola Hall of Fame: maize, lemon yellow, blue gray, raw umber, green blue, orange red, orange yellow, and violet blue.

What are cursed Crayola names? ›

Described as being “as dirty as your internet history,” the crayons come with offensive names like “Rim Job Red,” “GILF Bush Grey,” and “Bondage Rope Brown.”

What is the most popular Crayola color? ›

Blue was voted the most popular CRAYOLA Crayon color. Rounding the top ten were red, violet, green, carnation pink, black, turquoise blue, blue green, periwinkle and magenta. In 2000, we did another Crayola Color Census, and blue again reigns as number one!

What is the newest crayon color? ›

Meet Bluetiful Thanks to our fans from North America Crayola's new blue has a name!
  • Nickname: Bea.
  • About Me: I may be shy at first, but I love to share BIG ideas with new people especially ideas for new inventions or creative projects.
  • Favorite Hobbies: Coding apps or video games and relaxing with DIY projects.

What are the new Crayola colors for 2022? ›

Available September 2022

The colors of the new Glow Makers from Crayola are: Radioactive Red, Hazmat Orange, Laser Lemon, Gamma Green, and Blutonium.

What Crayola color was named by a 5 year old? ›

The Crayola color Razzmatazz was named by a five year old.

Is white a color or not? ›

Some consider white to be a color, because white light comprises all hues on the visible light spectrum. And many do consider black to be a color, because you combine other pigments to create it on paper. But in a technical sense, black and white are not colors, they're shades. They augment colors.

What number is the black Crayola? ›

Crayola 528360M051 Classic Black Crayon - 3000/Case.


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