The World Needs More Purple People

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
The World Needs More Purple People Book Poster Image
Cheery call to work and play with all kinds of folks.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows kids putting differences aside and appreciating one another's differences. Also shows them having empathy and participating in a demonstration to demand more playgrounds.

Positive Messages

Ask questions. Questions can help you "learn something really BIG about the world or really small about another person." Laughing helps us "remember the things we share and forget what we thought made us different. It's almost impossible to be angry when you're laughing." Speak up, but also listen. Work together to "change something that needs changing ... fix something that needs fixing ... or help someone who needs helping." Just be you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Little girl narrator is exuberant, empathetic, encouraging. Her family members are loving, fun, supportive. Her mom encourages her to use her voice "to sing ... to give good ideas ... to share my opinions." With her grandpa, she builds things, reads and learns things, and grows things. The girl and her family are White, but the rest of the adults and kids represent a diverse array of ages, body types, skin colors, ethnicities. One kid is in a wheelchair, one girl wears a hijab. 

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The World Needs More Purple People, by actress Kristen Bell (The Good Place) and Benjamin Hart, is a feel-good call to arms to be a "purple person," who, young narrator Penny Purple explains, is someone who asks great questions, laughs a lot, uses their voice all the time, works hard, and is always their authentic self. The implication is that like red and blue, which work together to make purple, you can work together with folks who are different from you to get things done and have fun. With cute cartoon-like illustrations by Daniel Wiseman and an enthusiastic main character who speaks directly to the reader, it sweeps kids up in a can-do, inclusive community where kids work, play, act silly, and even organize together.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTony Brown July 25, 2020

Give them a Fighting Chance

If we need more Purple People in the world, we should first address the One eye'd, One horned, Flying Purple People eaters - So they'll have a fightin... Continue reading
Adult Written byMs Oakes June 5, 2020

Clever, Charming, and Connected

This book is a must read for all early childhood and elementary school readers. It's fun, humorous, and engaging. Kids will love the speech bubbles within... Continue reading

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What's the story?

In THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE, a little blond girl named Penny Purple speaks directly to the reader and launches right into a lesson on "How to be a purple person." She explains that "Purple is a magic color made when red and blue work together." Then she goes on to list five steps to becoming a purple person: 1) Ask (really great) questions; 2) Laugh (a lot); 3) Use your voice (and don't lose your voice; 4) Work hard (super-duper hard); and 5) Just be (the real) you. As she lays out the steps, there are scenes of her and her family at home and diverse kids on the playground working and playing together, and even joining together to demand more playgrounds.

Is it any good?

This cheerful take on looking beyond people's differences to work together has cute cartoon art and an enthusiastic narrator to guide kids along. The upbeat message is a bit high concept and muddled, though. Adults will grasp the metaphor of red people and blue people putting their differences aside to work together and get things done, but it will probably sail over kids' heads, unless a parent or caregiver chooses to explain it. But even if they don't get the political implications, young readers will enjoy the images of kids coming together, having fun, and even trying some kid-size activism on for size. It's inspiring and empowering with a light touch.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different steps listed in The World Needs More Purple People. Are you already a purple person? 

  • Why is it important to be able to get along with different kinds of people? 

  • What fun things do you do with your family members? Who makes you laugh the most? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and stories of activism

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