Friday, June 18, 2021
June 18, 2021

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Check it Out: You can color yourself happy

The Columbian

Well, it’s officially August, and the world is still a crazy place. When we started to see the pandemic take hold in Washington in March, I thought everything would be back to normal by the summer. Now that we’re in the final weeks of summer, I have to wonder if normalcy (in this case I define “normalcy” as the pre-COVID-19 world), is ever going to return? Thinking this way stresses me out, so I try not to go to the dark side too often; but when it happens, I need an activity to keep me calm. Coloring is one of those activities.

I’m not the only one to find comfort in coloring. Take a look around and you can find coloring books for every age, every level, and just about every subject under the sun – the coloring world has exploded! And since today is National Coloring Book Day (and the whole month of August is National Crayon Collection Month), it seems like the perfect time to color your world with crayon/color-themed books.

For the kids I am including one of my favorite picture books “The Day the Crayons Quit.” If you think that crayons love their job, well, be prepared for some disgruntled markers in this funny story by Drew Daywalt. Also for young readers are “The Colors of History,” “Crayola!: The Secrets of the Cool Colors and Hot Hues,” and “The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons.” All three of these titles are nonfiction books for kids, and they share the stories behind the history of colors, how crayons are created, and the man who invented Crayola Crayons.

The other three titles in the list offer fascinating insight into the world of color. “Color: A Visual History” digs into the history of color and explores how color theories have evolved over time. For those of you who like to paint, “How to Mix Colors” might be a good addition to your reading list. According to a review from Library Journal, “Artists of beginning and intermediate experience levels can use this guide to develop and sharpen their color skills.” Sounds like a winner to me. The last title “Simply Color, Orange” is included because I love orange – and it’s a visually appealing guide to a color that never fails to make me happy. Vanessa Christenson owns a pattern and fabric design company, V and Co., and she wrote a series of books she calls her “Simply Color Books.” The library also has “Simply Color: Green” and “Simply Color: Red” in its collection, so if you want to explore some holiday colors, be sure to add these to your list.

“Color: A Visual History from Newton to Modern Color Matching Guides” by Alexandra Loske.

“The Colors of History” by Clive Gifford.

“Crayola!: The Secrets of the Cool Colors and Hot Hues” written by Bonnie Williams, illustrated by Rob McClurkan.

“The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons” written by Natascha Biebow, illustrated by Steven Salerno.

“The Day the Crayons Quit” written by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.

“How to Mix Colors” by Gabriel Martin Rig.

“Simply Color, Orange: A Crayon Box for Quilters” by Vanessa Christenson.

Jan Johnston is the collection development coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries. Email her at