Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon
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3.84 / 5

"Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon" Summary

By Paula Danziger

childrens | 96 pages | Published in NaN

Amber Brown and Justin Daniels are best friends. They've known each other for practically forever, sit next to each other in class, help each other with homework, and always stick up for each other. Justin never says things like, "Amber Brown is not a crayon." Amber never says, "Justin Time." They're a great team—until disaster strikes. Justin has to move away, and now the best friends are fighting. Will they be able to work it out before it's too late?


Estimated read time: 6 min read

One Sentence Summary

Amber Brown navigates the challenges of her parents' divorce while staying true to herself.


"Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon" is a heartwarming children's book written by Paula Danziger. Published in 1994, it is the first installment in the beloved Amber Brown series. This delightful story follows the adventures of Amber Brown, a spunky and relatable young girl navigating the challenges of growing up.

Brief Synopsis

The book is set in Woodbridge, New Jersey, where Amber Brown lives with her mother and her cat, Max. Amber is a spirited fourth-grader who loves to play basketball and dreams of becoming a writer. She is best friends with Justin Daniels, and they do everything together. However, things start to change when Amber's parents get divorced, and her father moves away to France. This major life event leaves Amber feeling confused and angry.

Throughout the story, Amber faces a variety of challenges that come with her parents' divorce. She struggles with her emotions, as she misses her father while trying to adjust to her new reality. Amber also deals with the difficulties of school, including a strict teacher, Mrs. Brown, who happens to share the same last name. Despite these obstacles, Amber's resilience and determination shine through as she learns to cope with her changing family dynamics.

Main Characters

Character NameDescription
Amber BrownThe main protagonist, a spunky and creative fourth-grader.
Justin DanielsAmber's best friend, who supports her through thick and thin.
MaxAmber's beloved cat, a source of comfort and companionship.
Mrs. BrownAmber's strict and no-nonsense teacher.
MomAmber's mother, who is loving and supportive.
DadAmber's father, who moves to France after the divorce.

Summary of Different Story Points Over Chapters

Chapter 1: Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon

Amber introduces herself and explains how she got her name. She discusses her love for the color amber and her passion for playing basketball.

Chapter 2: The Divorce

Amber's parents inform her about their impending divorce. She struggles with her emotions and feels angry and confused. She worries about her parents' happiness and how her life will change.

Chapter 3: Amber's Revenge

Amber vents her frustration by scribbling on her bedroom wall. She gets into trouble with her mom but eventually opens up about her feelings.

Chapter 4: The Lunch Bunch

Amber joins a lunch group at school called the Lunch Bunch. She meets other kids whose parents are divorced and finds solace in sharing her experiences with them.

Chapter 5: The Wedding

Amber's dad announces his plans to remarry a woman from France. Amber initially feels hurt and betrayed but eventually realizes that her dad's happiness is important.

Chapter 6: Mrs. Brown

Amber struggles with her new teacher, Mrs. Brown, who has strict rules and high expectations. She finds it challenging to adapt to the changes in her school routine.

Chapter 7: The Father-Daughter Dance

Amber attends a father-daughter dance at her school, but her father is unable to attend. She feels disappointed but finds comfort in her friends and their supportive families.

Chapter 8: The Science Project

Amber and Justin work together on a science project about volcanoes. They face challenges and setbacks but ultimately succeed with their presentation.

Chapter 9: Amber's Birthday

Amber celebrates her birthday and receives a surprise visit from her father, who has returned from France. They spend quality time together, and Amber's heart begins to heal.

Chapter 10: The Final Goodbye

Amber's father returns to France, and she experiences a mix of emotions. She realizes that life will continue to change, but she will always find strength within herself.

Main Events

  1. Amber's parents announce their divorce, leaving her feeling angry and confused.
  2. Amber joins the Lunch Bunch, a support group for children of divorced parents.
  3. Amber struggles with her strict teacher, Mrs. Brown, and tries to adapt to her new school routine.
  4. Amber's father announces his plans to remarry, initially causing hurt and betrayal.
  5. Amber works on a science project with Justin, facing challenges but ultimately succeeding.
  6. Amber's father surprises her on her birthday, bringing moments of joy and healing.
  7. Amber says a final goodbye to her father as he returns to France, accepting the changes in her life.

Themes and Insights

  • Divorce and Emotional Turmoil: The story explores the emotional impact of divorce on children and the challenges they face in processing their feelings.
  • Friendship and Support: Amber's friendship with Justin and the Lunch Bunch provide her with a support system to navigate the difficulties of her parents' divorce.
  • Adapting to Change: Amber learns to adapt to the changes in her family dynamics and finds strength within herself to embrace the future.
  • Coping with Loss: The book touches upon the theme of loss as Amber deals with the absence of her father and the changes in her family structure.

Reader's Takeaway

"Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon" is a relatable and heartwarming book that tackles the challenges of divorce from a child's perspective. Readers will empathize with Amber as she navigates her changing world and find inspiration in her resilience and ability to find joy amidst difficult circumstances. The story reminds us of the importance of friendship, support, and finding strength within ourselves during times of adversity.


Paula Danziger's "Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon" is a timeless children's book that explores themes of divorce, friendship, and resilience. Through Amber's relatable experiences, young readers are given a glimpse into the emotional complexities of divorce and the power of friendship in navigating challenging times. This heartwarming and insightful story serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, we can find strength within ourselves to embrace change and grow.

Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon FAQ

  1. Who is the author of 'Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon'?

    The author of 'Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon' is Paula Danziger.

  2. What is the main character's name in the book?

    The main character's name in the book is Amber Brown.

  3. What is the book about?

    'Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon' is a story about a young girl named Amber Brown who is dealing with her parents' divorce and adjusting to life with shared custody.

  4. What is the target audience for this book?

    The target audience for 'Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon' is children aged 7 to 10 years old.

  5. Is 'Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon' part of a series?

    Yes, 'Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon' is part of a series of books featuring the character Amber Brown.

  6. Are there any illustrations in the book?

    Yes, the book contains illustrations by Tony Ross.

  7. Is this book suitable for classroom reading?

    Yes, 'Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon' is often used as a classroom reading book due to its relatable themes and engaging storytelling.

  8. Is there a movie adaptation of this book?

    No, there is no movie adaptation of 'Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon' at this time.

  9. Where can I purchase a copy of this book?

    You can purchase a copy of 'Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon' from various bookstores, both online and offline, as well as from online retailers like Amazon.

  10. Are there any sequels to 'Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon'?

    Yes, there are several sequels to 'Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon', including 'You Can't Eat Your Chicken Pox, Amber Brown' and 'Amber Brown Goes Fourth'.