University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Title and Author: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Field of Philosophy: Epistemology

Plot Summary: Harold decides, “after thinking it over for some time,” to take a walk in the moonlight. No moon is out, so Harold takes his purple crayon and draws one, and then he draws something to walk on. Harold goes on to draw a forest in which he wanders, a dragon that ends up frightening him, an ocean in which he almost drowns and a boat which saves him, a beach, a lunch to eat, and so on.

Some discussion questions:

Is Harold pretending?
Is what Harold draws real?
How can what Harold draws scare him?
Is the moon we see more real than Harold’s moon—if so, why?
Is Harold dreaming?
Can we create our own reality, or do we do so without even know it?
Would we want to create our own realities?