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“Colorful Cities” Coloring Book Travel Guides for Kids - Seattle & Portland

Photo: Laura Lahm


Seattle Mother and "Colorful Cities" creator, Laura Lahm

As a global business manager for Microsoft, Seattle mom Laura Lahm used to travel frequently. Instead of getting yet another T-shirt or stuffed animal as a souvenir for her twins, she often wound up bringing home coloring books. Yet she always felt the quality was lacking, with uninspired images and thin pages that easily tore or allowed the colors to bleed through.

Thus, in 2013, a business idea was born. Colorful Seattle came first, with 28 pages of landmarks along with brief descriptions and a labeled map of the city. In other words, it’s a coloring book that doubles as a travel guide, of use to both kids and their parents, taking them through the city in a fun, scavenger hunt–like way. (Lahm’s mantra is “Let the kids take the exploring lead.” ) Visiting downtown? Pages 16 to 24 will get you from the EMP to Century Link. On the north end of Lake Union? Pages 6 to 11 go from Gas Works to Green Lake. When selecting locales, Lahm purposely bypasses solely kid-centric activities in favor of places a family can enjoy together.

In 2015, Lahm released Colorful Tokyo, which explores a city that she lived in for several years and then visited frequently for work. This year Colorful Portland made its debut. In Portland, Lahm proposes a challenge for her readers/colorers: Try to visit all 31 places without a car in one weekend (it’s possible!). Several other cities are in the pipeline.

The quality of the books isn’t just limited to the content. The thick pages are perforated for easy tearing, there’s only one image per side and, being the mother of a lefty, Lahm had the books printed in landscape, so that both the right- and left-handed can color without smudging.

In celebration of Colorful Portland’s launch, Lahm has offered a couple of pages to preview: Print out either the image of Powell’s Bookstore or the Portland Farmer’s Market.  You can order any of her Colorful Cities guides on her website.  

Thinking of heading to Portland? Check out Erika Bigelow's guide to a weekend in the Portland with kids.  

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