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The Bright Side

Discover the surprising ways coloring can enrich your life.

An Unexpected Gift:  Color Your Way to Calm
Photo courtesy of Tami Newcomb

“Lagniappe” may be Tami Newcomb’s favorite word, and for good reason:  the term means an unexpected, small gift or little goody that is given gratuitously, in good spirits.  Newcomb is the author of “Coloring Your Way to Calm,” a coloring book for finding peace in the present moment.  Many adults who have discovered the book refer to it as their lagniappe, as they color in the dreamy designs that are accompanied by witty inspirations.   

This coloring book for grown-ups is collection of 25 inspired thoughts and illustrations.  To color is a really a great and indulgent treat and you won’t have to worry about counting calories or running low on batteries.  This book’s inspiration essentially comes from Newcomb’s childhood, a time she looks back on with fond memories as she colored in the pictures of beloved childhood characters.  Now, as a nearly-50 grown-up, she knew there was an audience of grown-ups like her, identified themselves as “closet colorers”. Newcomb created the Color Your Way concept "in order to bring coloring for grown-ups out of the closet and into the cool, mainstream waters," she explained.


She combined her business acumen gained from experience in corporate marketing with her passion as a writer.  Now “Color Your Way” has become a series, with other titles, “Color Your Way to Success” and “Color Your Way to Sleep”. 

Because so many adults colored as kids, they are brought back to a simpler time when they color.  The nostalgia also rekindles freedom to feel playful and bold, Newcomb explains.  “Color Your Way to Calm” presents pages of sophisticated and whimsical designs that invite reflection and even a little laughter.  Not surprisingly, witty aphorisms like, “A little lagniappe goes a long way” accompanies an illustration of a three-tiered present that sits atop an ornately decorated bed.

The books have been embraced by adults going through challenging times and seeking ways to achieve some moments of peace and simplicity.  Newcomb receives many thank-yous from people recovering from surgeries and fighting cancer.  “I recently heard from a woman who is recovering from brain surgery, in which she had a benign tumor removed.  She was given Color Your Way to Calm as a gift.  She didn't know what the word “lagniappe” meant, so she looked it up:  A small and unexpected gift.  She decided, in retrospect, that her tumor was indeed a lagniappe, so she named it "Yaappee" because it was easier to pronounce than lagniappe.  Her story captures my hope and intention for why I created the books.”  Perhaps the best quality of an unexpected gift is that it brightens the lives of both the recipient and the giver.


Newcomb's book can be purchased at: or

Mom, Pass The Blue!  Why Coloring Together is Good for Kids and Parents

Dr. Lenore Peachin Wineberg takes child’s play very seriously.  After all, it is through play that young children mentally, socially and emotionally grow.  Yet in her research Wineberg was finding that fewer parents actually engage with their children in play.  It isn’t an issue of outfitting the child with the right toy, but seeking out the right activity for child and adult to do together.  Even with the best of intentions, today’s multi-tasking, non-stop, parents may begin to focus solely on playing with a youngster, but the adult quickly becomes distracted,  preoccupied, lured away by texts, emails, phone calls or another pressing task that may only take a few minutes to complete.


Children can build positive associations with coloring books from the way the medium is introduced to them.  Since many adults often have positive memories associated with coloring books, their genuine enthusiasm should be shared with their younger counterparts.  Wineberg looks back at her own childhood, when she remembered getting coloring books as a “treat” to feel better or a small gift from a relative.


As you color together, let the children take the lead:  allow them to choose the types of coloring books (assuming it is age appropriate), pick the colors and decide how to add details.  This may result in pictures of blue trees and orange oceans, but they were all created from the child’s unique perspective.  When the child has completed the picture, ask him or her to tell you about it.  Asking questions like, “What do you like about your picture?” avoids judgment and encourages conversation.  You can decide together if the picture should be hung in a special place or given to someone.


Wineberg offers another important reminder for grown-ups when using coloring books: “Respect the materials”.  Remember that coloring books are books, too and should be treated with care.  Designate a space for storing coloring books, crayons and markers.  She recommends using a desk organizer for papers or even a dish rack to display coloring books so kids can locate them easily.


Lenore Peachin Wineberg holds an Ed.D from George Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University and has been teaching at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh for 23 years.  She has published 20 articles related to the field of early childhood education.  Her current areas of research include: coloring books, homeless families and male early childhood teachers perspectives of their career.  She regularly presents at international and national early childhood conferences.  Dr. Wineberg is past president of U.S. National Committee of the WORLD ORGANIZATION FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION (OMEP).