Fauna Extreme Coloring Book Inspires Girls
Fauna Extreme publishes a coloring book targeted to young girls. But it doesn’t have a princess theme or a cute kitty or an adorable pony in it. This is a coloring book about power and strength and athleticism. And I’m going to tell you about it — as well as about a contest to win one. But first, I want to go back into time and talk a bit about the world I grew up in. Please bear with me.
A Different Era
When I was a little girl (oh, about a million years ago), boys got to do all the cool things. They played with trucks. They played Army. They were daredevils. They even occasionally swore (swear words weren’t as commonplace among kids as they are today). I didn’t want to be a “girly-girl.” I wanted to be tough, too. I had opinions. I liked being physical and running and jumping. But I was frequently told, “You can’t do that; you’re a girl.” It didn’t always stop me, but sometimes it did.
Where I grew up, in Los Angeles, California; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Dallas, Texas, among others, girls didn’t play competitive sports in high school. Oh, we had one girl on the tennis team at my high school in Dallas. And there was a drill team, where the girls wore tight satin shorts matching tops, boots — and gloves. (Yeah, it was a long time ago.) And the year before that, when I lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, there was a synchronized swim team. But we girls were offered nothing else even remotely athletic besides cheer leading. Both of my high schools had co-ed cheer leading squads.
I loved to run, and probably would have been a sprinter, but we didn’t have that as an option. In fact, running track didn’t enter my consciousness as a possibility until I was an adult living in rural Iowa. The smaller cities in Iowa had had girls’ basketball for decades. It was six-on-six basketball back then, a modified version from what the boys played, but at least it was a competitive high school sport. When I learned that small-town high school girls had been playing sports for years, though I hadn’t even been able to conceive of it, I felt cheated. Why should the boys have all the fun?
This is a very different era, and Title 9 funding has created a space for girls to participate in competitive sports. But let’s get real here. Even today, girls and women don’t always see athleticism as a positive thing. Though it’s a far cry from the “a woman’s place is in the home” world of Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver (two shows my family watched religiously), it is still a sexist world. Girls and women are valued for how we look — often at least as much, and sometimes more than — how we perform in sports or school or on the job. Sadly, that hasn’t changed so much from the ’60s. Don’t believe me? Look at just about any magazine cover targeted to women or to men.
Athletes may admire each other, and parents are typically very happy to see their daughters, as well as their sons, striving for physical strength and prowess. But once high school is over, many of those same girls who played basketball, soccer, or volleyball are strutting their stuff, trying to look sexy and cool instead of competent.
We live in a university town, and we see it all too often. It makes me sad to watch young women with brains and talent choose the sleaziest clothes they can find to get attention, rather than awing the guys with their smarts, their sense of humor, or their grace on the basketball court. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? Or is it really just my old-fashioned perception of the world?
Celebrate Being a Girl
So how does all this relate to a coloring book?
Sarah Broyles, the publisher of the Fauna Extreme coloring book, has two daughters. The younger one likes “girly” stuff. The older girl, Parker, considers herself a “tomboy.” (That’s a term I used to describe myself from time to time when I was her age.) And that troubles Sarah. One day, Parker, declared to Sarah that she was a tomboy. Sarah tried to convince her it was a sexist term that limits the things girls are “supposed to” like. Parker replied,
Sarah, a marathon athlete who didn’t start running until after she’d had two children, admires animal athletes and was inspired to create beautiful running tees, necklaces, and now a coloring book that celebrates them. She calls her business Fauna Extreme.
Fauna Extreme is about ladies embracing animal athletes — feeling inspired by their speed, strength, stamina and tenacity — inspiring us to persevere and overcome. Simply put — Fauna Extreme is about girl power via the wonders of wildlife …
Beautiful Images, Fascinating Facts
The coloring book is filled with the same detailed images of the animals that grace the Fauna Extreme tees and necklaces. But there’s more to the Fauna Extreme coloring book than just images of beautiful animals. Sarah has written a profile of each animal, featuring fascinating facts such as these paragraphs about the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus):
The “greyhound” of cats is built for rapid results. Her long legs, powerful heart, and strong arteries add up to some serious speed. She can accelerate from 0 to 40 mph in three strides and reach 70 mph in seconds. She’s the only cat with specialized, semi-retractable claws, gripping the ground like spikes on a track. She can maintain a high-speed chase for 400 to 600 yards, but then she’s totally exhausted and stops for a much needed rest. Upon winning her trophies, she must quickly hide them from stronger bullies who will steal her precious prizes.
There are approximately 10,000 cheetahs left on Earth today, placing her on the list of Endangered Species. To learn more about protecting this animal athlete, visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund at www.cheetah.org.
Beyond the 12 beautiful images and profiles, Broyles has included seven pages of review questions and activities. She donates a portion of all sales to wildlife conservation funds.
There are other good things about the book, too. The pages are made from 50% post-consumer waste and the cover is 100% post-consumer waste. The paper is processed free of chlorine, and all print is made with wax-based inks. To top it off, the coloring book was “created with 100% wind power.”
So, if you know and love a little girl, and you want her to identify with the strength and grace of some of the world’s most amazing animals, get her a Fauna Extreme coloring book. Help her to understand that it’s both cool and beautiful to be athletic, to have her own power, and to be exactly who she is. (Boys may like it, too, but the text and messaging is directed to girls.)
Win a Fauna Extreme Coloring Book
Broyles is giving away one copy of the Fauna Extreme coloring book to a Blue Planet Green Living reader. Though the coloring book is targeted to girls, boys are welcome to enter. Here are the guidelines:
- Entrants must be younger than 18 and live in the U.S.
- Choose an animal they admire for its “speed, strength, stamina, strategy, or spunk.”
- Either draw a picture of the animal illustrating how it exhibits the above characteristices OR write no more than one page describing how the animal fits those criteria.
- Send an email to Sarah Broyles with your scanned drawing attached and/or your ext typed into the email.
- Your parents must sign your work to verify that you have permission to participate.
- Include your name, age, and complete mailing address.
Sarah Broyles and her daughters will determine the winner based on how well the entries describe or illustrate the characteristics of an animal’s “speed, strength, stamina, strategy, or spunk.” The winner will be announced on both Blue Planet Green Living and the Fauna Extreme website. Selected entrants will have their artwork or written work posted on both sites. A parent must sign to indicate that they give their child permission to have original work posted on the websites. No work will be returned.
Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)