One - by Kathryn Otoshi - SmartMom

One by Kathryn Otoshi

If you’re looking for a children’s book that will be loved by all age ranges, discuss important topics, and teach valuable lessons, then the book One by Kathryn Otoshi is a must read.

Synopsis: There is a group of individuals represented by colors. The main character, Blue, wishes he could be more like the other colors because of their character attributes. However, there is one individual he does not wish to be like: Red. Red bullies Blue, and the no one tries to stop it…until the number One comes into the picture. He sets Red straight, and the other colors join him in defending themselves. Eventually, Red changes his story AND his name too. The resolution all comes about because of the power of One.

Why One is a page turner: This story is accessible and easy to identify with for children of all ages. Instead of using human characters which limits its connective reach, Otoshi uses colors and numbers to convey her meaningful story. Children as young as four can understand the wrong behavior of Red and the sad state of Blue; however their take away lessons will vary with age and life experiences.

What lessons will children learn in this book? There are numerous lessons within One; in fact, there could be a lesson learned or discussion about each page! Below is a brief list of some of the lessons One eloquently teaches in order as they appear in the book:

– Self acceptance: Blue enjoys specific activities, and that’s okay! People can have preferences.

Character traits: Each color has a character trait that Blue wishes he had. Everyone has strengths.

– Bullying: Putting people down and intimidating them is bullying.

– Being friendly: Yellow would sometimes comfort Blue.

– Standing up for what is right: Yellow never comforted Blue in front of Red.

Following a bad example: The other colors never told Red to stop teasing Blue despite their friendship with Blue.

– Emotions: Red’s anger spirals out of control and he grows large and intimidates everyone.

– Standing up for yourself: When One comes into the picture, he refuses to be intimidated by Red. He does so with respect. He doesn’t return anger with anger.

– Following a good example: One tells the colors that he stands up for himself when someone is mean to him, and the other colors follow his lead and become numbers with him.

– Bravery in tough situations: Blue overcomes his fear of Red, following the example of One, and stands up for himself to become Six.

– Never allow violence: The numbers do not allow Red to roll over Six in his anger.

– Forgiveness: Despite his mistreatment, Six extends an invitation to be friends with Red.

– It’s never too late to change: Red joins the numbers to become Seven.

– One person can make a difference: Nothing would have changed for Blue and the other colors if it wasn’t for One. He showed the colors how to handle a tough situation and to do what is right.

Verdict: Go out and get this book! You will build meaningful conversations with your young ones, tap into their thoughts and ideas, all while guiding them toward a positive moral compass.


One has been recognized as a winner of various prestigious literary awards:

  • B. White Read Aloud Honor Book
  • Teacher’s Choice Award
  • Young Voices Foundation Award
  • Moonbeam Children’s Book Medalist
  • Mom’s Choice Award
  • Nautilus Choice Award
  • IPPY Book Award
  • Hicklebee’s Book of the Year
  • NCIBA Best Illustrated Award
  • Reader Views Best Children’s Book
  • Flicker Tale Award

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