Endangered Animals of North America, Culture to Color’s best-selling coloring book, began as a creative approach to comforting children and the elderly in healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 crisis.

(Orlando, FL — June 7, 2022) — A coloring book published by Culture to Color to bring cheer to patients young and old in healthcare facilities during COVID-19 has won the highest award from the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA).

The project, Endangered Animals of North America, received a Benjamin Franklin Gold Award at the IBPA’s annual gala, held April 29, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.

Published in May 2021, the book features 45 full-page illustrations of endangered species, with bilingual (English/Spanish) narratives about each animal.

“We are delighted that our Endangered Animals project has brought joy and relief to many of those who were isolated with health concerns during the pandemic,” said Bibi LeBlanc, founder and CEO of Culture to Color. “Thank you to the IBPA for this wonderful recognition.”

Learn more about Endangered Animals of North America.

According to the Publishers Association, the entries in this year’s contest were judged by 171 book industry professionals, from librarians and booksellers to writers and designers. In all, the IBPA received 1,894 entries.

Judges called Endangered Animals “a great book with a purpose,” “a wonderful educational coloring book,” and “very engaging for kids.”

“This book demonstrates the concept that learning can be fun and enjoyable! I really like the idea of having some good quality informative content and the opportunity to show one’s creativity and imagination through coloring,” one IBPA reviewer wrote.

“I loved the approach to get the next generation interested in preserving and protecting animals,” wrote another judge.

Endangered Animals of North America, an Amazon bestseller, has also won a silver medal from the Florida Author & Publisher Association.

LeBlanc said the project began with coloring kits—loose-leaf coloring pages with colored pencils or markers—that her team distributed to hospitals and retirement homes near Culture to Color headquarters in DeLand, Florida. “We’re thinking of you,” they wrote on notes attached to the hundreds of kits they gave away at the height of the pandemic.

When someone asked if Culture to Color had a similar kit for children, she contacted one of her designers and asked for five designs of endangered animals local to Florida. The illustrations were so beautiful, LeBlanc said, that she decided to make an entire book, and expand the scope to include Canada and Central America.

“A lot of emotions go into the creation of a book: the joys and pains, the frustrations and ultimately the satisfaction when it is complete,” LeBlanc said during her award acceptance speech. “At Culture to Color, we are grateful to those who inspire us, as well as everyone who contributed to the creative process behind Endangered Animals of North America.”

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