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.

Broyles' daughters colored some of the pages to inspire others to do the same. Illustration by Houston artist Paul Sanchez. Photo: Sarah Broyles

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?

The Peregrine Falcon, colored by Broyles' daughter. Illustration by Paul Sanchez. Photo: Sarah Broyles

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,

“So I’m not a girl. I don’t like dumb, girly stuff. I’m a tomboy.”

Reflecting on their conversation, Sarah wrote on her blog,

Errr. This isn’t the thought process I want for her. She’s supposed to be proud of being a girl. Feeling that girl power! Not downing her gender and grouping herself with the “cooler” boys. You don’t have to like pink and you don’t have to like ponies, but you do have to understand and believe that all girls are awesome, even the pink pony girls. Those girls are just as strong and cool and amazing. In fact, I’m just now realizing that I think “girly girl” is a sexist term, too, and I’m not going to use it anymore. It implies that liking feminine things means you’re not a strong girl. Nah uh. Trust me–Miss Bridget [her younger daughter] has an independent spirit of her own and is just as strong and opinionated as her older sister. Her preschool teacher would agree!

Femininity does not hinder strength; it enhances it. Feminine power is more captivating than your basic, run-of-the-mill manpower. Don’t worry; I’m not about to bash guys. They’re great, too, of course. But when strength and power and talent are entangled with femininity, some kind of X factor erupts, creating a beauty in athleticism that I just don’t feel when watching a man perform in whatever sport. What am I trying to say? We don’t run or bike or swim as fast as the guys. We don’t throw as far. We don’t hit as hard. We don’t lift as much. And that’s exactly what’s so badass about us. We have some kind of emotional underdog quality that’s riveting to watch and feel part of. We are the inspiring gender.

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

African Elephant, as colored by Broyles' daughter. Illustration by Paul Sanchez. Photo: Sarah Broyles

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. 

The entry deadline is noon, July 15, 2010. Good luck!
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Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post

Fauna Extreme Tees – For Inspiration and Style

Fauna Extreme Tees – for Inspiration and Style

Jenny models her fauna extreme tee. Photo: Julia Wasson

If you’ve worn bamboo fabric, you know that it is incredibly soft and comfy. The tees from Fauna Extreme are no exception. I was in love with the organic fabric the minute I touched it. Unfortunately, my medium height and not-quite-as-svelte-as-I-wish-I-were frame didn’t do much for the long, slender shape of the tee. Broyles had warned me that the tees run small, and she was right.

So I asked my friend, Jenny Schilling, to try it on. The shirt fit her perfectly, though a bit on the longish side. Jenny, too, was thrilled by the fabric, as you’ll see in her comments below. The light pink tee I received as a complimentary review product — and passed on to Jenny — is a bit on the pale side for Jenny’s light complexion, so the color isn’t quite what she would have picked. But the Fauna Extreme website shows several rich color choices, too. (I’ll be sure she sees them!)

The story of Fauna Extreme starts with a mom and a marathon. Ecopreneur Sarah Broyles decided to run her first marathon after having baby #1. One morning, while she was out pounding the pavement, she daydreamed about shirts emblazoned with fast animals like the cheetah and pronghorn,” she writes on the Fauna Extreme website. So, she worked with an artist, who created several beautiful and powerful animal images for a series of tees.

She also did her homework. Broyles, who started out her college career as a wildlife biology major — but graduated with a degree in English — was determined to find the most sustainable fabric, dyes, and inks she possibly could. What she ended up with was 70% bamboo, 20% organically grown cotton, and 10% spandex. The reasons for her choices are many, as she explains on her blog post, “How to Be Eco Fashionista.”

Broyles’ English degree shows itself in the clever writing on her blog. Like many other vendors, she’s doing her best to be eco-friendly. What’s different about her approach, though, is that she tells it exactly like it is. You’ll find out, in detail, what’s environmentally friendly about her tees (the bamboo, the organic cotton, the inks, the dyes) and what’s less than perfect (the process used to make bamboo fabric, the miles the fabric travels, the process used to make “organic” cotton, the amount of water used to dye the shirts, the Spandex, and the cost of production). I haven’t seen a clothing company go into so much detail since I visited the Patagonia website. (There may be others; but I haven’t seen them.)

But be forewarned, these are racerback shirts. If you’re looking for a traditional sleeveless tee, this isn’t it. (Translation: Racerback bra required.)

Fauna Extreme tees include the name of the animal and the FE logo on the back of the shirt. Photo: Julia Wasson

The placement of the animals on the tees is big and bold. If you’re a fan of a particular animal, that’s very cool, indeed. (Of course, if you’re not a fan of that animal, you won’t order that design, now will you?) I’m not a fisher person, and the sailfish wouldn’t have been my first choice, but there are several other designs that would work great for me. Take a look at the many designs Broyles offers, and you’ll surely find one or more that you’d be proud to wear.

Maybe a cheetah is more your style. Or how about a peregrine falcon? A pronghorn? Or an elephant? There’s even a badger and a collection of rhinoceros beetles. My personal favorite, though, is the tiger. What’s yours?

While you’re considering which animal best represents your own strengths, you’ll want to read what Broyles has to say about each of them. She waxes poetic on the characteristics of the various animals, explaining why each one is, in her words, “fauna extreme.”

So what’s the point? According to Broyles:

Fauna Extreme’s mission is to provide ladies with a line that’s stylish and fun, but more notably, with something we can feel connected to and inspired by—animal athletes!

Channel the spirits of Fauna Extreme’s captivating critters. Harness their energies in between workouts and races, or for life’s toughest challenges: fear, heartache, confrontation, rivalry.

She gets serious, too, providing facts about how many are left on the planet, the threats to their survival, where they live, and so on. She also provides helpful links, not only to where she got her information, but also to groups that are working to save these noble beasts.

Fauna Extreme sells necklaces with the same artistic renderings of her selected Fauna Extreme. Each pendant/cord set is $18 plus shipping, though additional pendants (without a cord) sell for $15 plus shipping.

Broyles also publishes a cool coloring book for girls. The coloring book, which she also sent to us, is worth a post of its own. We’ll be writing about that sometime soon.

Meanwhile, here’s Jenny’s letter, describing her experience with the Fauna Extreme tee. You’ll see Jenny in her tee in the photo above. (I want to look like Jenny!)

I absolutely LOVE the material – it is sooo soft and comfortable! I washed and dried it once, and it has not noticeably shrunk or faded. (I used a regular hot air/cotton setting on the dryer —  nothing special like “cool,” “air dry,” or “permanent press.”)  I can tell that the material is of good quality and will last.

Although I have not worn it in public much (I love using it as a nightshirt or lounging shirt), I think that the unique designs could very well bring good attention to the endangered species cause as a conversation piece. I haven’t seen any “sailfish” tee shirts at Wal-Mart, Target, or Kohl’s!

I like the design of the shirt – the sleeveless/”keyhole” design makes it perfect for wearing over swimwear, workout gear, or with a racerback bra.  I also appreciate the fact that the designer made the tag out of a soft, comfortable fabric — I almost always have to cut the tags out of my shirts because I have sensitive skin and they irritate me. I didn’t need to remove the tag in this one.

I think the sizing is incorrect, unless the designer is targeting the Asian market. The “Large” size fit me snugly, and I am 5’6” tall and weigh 130 pounds.  I’m not implying that I’m skinny or petite, but I usually need to buy small or medium-size shirts from other retailers.

I would also like to see other color and design options. While I don’t mind the pink color of the shirt I tested, it wouldn’t be my first choice, and I don’t think it would have caught my eye if I were shopping. Again, I’m not familiar with the designer’s entire line and that is just my personal opinion.

Overall opinion – Good quality shirt, I would buy one if they had other colors and styles available.

So there you have it. Jenny’s opinion — and mine — of the Fauna Extreme tee. For me, the shape is a bit too tight (give me some slack, I’m over 50!), but otherwise, it’s quite lovely and oh, so soft! And another thing I love: Fauna Extreme donates a percentage of all sales to the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Broyles puts her money where her mouth is. And that’s a good deal for the animals she features on her tees.

Each adult shirt sells for $40 plus shipping; the smallest shirt, which she sells for children, is less, at $32 plus shipping. I have to think the cost of the tee is reasonable, given the amazing softness of the cloth and the environmentally friendly nature of the inks and dies. One other thing I almost forgot to mention: The stitching is top quality. After being overwhelmed at the fabric, the next reaction I had was that the tee is amazingly well constructed. It’s a premium product in all ways.

Small Print

Blue Planet Green Living received a free sample of the tee and the coloring book described in this post. No other compensation or incentive was provided.

Blue Planet Green Living’s review policy is to only review those products we feel merit overall positive comments. If we do not like a product, we do not review it. We are not influenced by complimentary products and provide our honest opinions. For more information, please visit the Policies tab on the top navigation bar.

Blue Planet Green Living has an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com. If you purchase this product or any other products through Amazon by clicking on our affiliate link, Blue Planet Green Living will receive a small financial compensation from Amazon, which we use to sustain this website.

Julia Wasson
Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)