Colouring ‘books’ celebrate front-line workers

Downloadable pages help parents explain pandemic to children


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You are invited to colour inside the lines by a company thinking outside the box.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/05/2020 (940 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

You are invited to colour inside the lines by a company thinking outside the box.

The Exchange District advertising firm UpHouse is publishing easily printable pages of a colouring book with the theme “Frontline Friends” in response to a crisis that can leave both kids and their parents fearful of the pandemic.

Brenlee Coates, creative and marketing manager at UpHouse, spearheaded the project when confronted with friends whose jobs required them to work with the public during a time when we’ve been told it’s safer to keep our distance.

Supplied Brenlee Coates hopes work on the colouring pages will foster conversation between parents and children about the pandemic.

“We are fortunate enough to have a lot of friends who work the front lines,” says Coates, who is currently working from home. “And we were hearing from them that they had quite a bit of anxiety about going to work, even though they were very happy to do the very important jobs.

“They had anxiety about bringing home the virus to their family and loved ones,” she says. “Sometimes, they’re doing double-duty as parents and teachers and sometimes working other jobs in addition to that. We knew they were struggling a bit.”

Coates knows the situation has been difficult for parents to explain to kids, who may not understand why they can’t go to school, visit playgrounds or see their friends and family. “So we just thought this might be a way for us to fit into the mix,” she says.

The pages profile real-life front-line workers in Manitoba, from nurses to store-owners, explaining their jobs and celebrating their value to keep things going during the pandemic.

“We also love the idea of a colouring book in terms of providing a built-in activity for kids and as a bit of a distraction if mom and dad need to get some work done,” Coates says. “And hopefully it will foster some conversation between them.”

Supplied Maisie Gibb shows off her handiwork.

The company has been open to submissions from people suggesting workers for the pages, and some have been “touching to see,” says Coates.

‘Jessica White works as a medic and a nurse in Portage La Prairie and the submission came from her fiancée, Chelsea Hansen,” Coates says. “Their wedding is delayed right now with everything going on. But Chelsea also works in psychiatry at Health Sciences Centre so they’re both health-care workers and she wanted to honour her fiancée, which is really sweet.

“It was just really rewarding to see that people feel the same way we do, that people want to honour their friends that are out there doing the hard, important work, while some of us just have to hide out at home.”

The pages are downloadable at

For those without printers, some sheets have been made available free at Black Market Provisions at 550 Osborne St.

SUPPLIED The pages describe a variety of real-life front-line workers, explaining their importance during the pandemic.

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Randall King

Randall King

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

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