Coloring our way to a national award with Illinois Soybean Association
When the Illinois Soybean Association came to us looking for a new coloring book to tell the story of soy for kids ages 4-6, we hit up the children’s section of the local bookstore and started perusing the shelves. We quickly found that there weren’t many reference materials available in that age range. Most of the science books for kids were a little past the age level Illinois Soybean Association was looking to capture, and there were absolutely no farming coloring books to reference.
So it was an “open book” for us! We worked closely with the Illinois Soybean team to identify the stages of a soybean’s journey that they wanted kids to be introduced to, then looked for ways to make each section age appropriate, interactive, and fun. There were many, many, iterations of ideas that went around. This is an example of one of the early comp sketches, which was then worked into a more refined version. We were constantly looking for ways to engage the reader by using “find the” games, simple mazes, and hidden surprises on each page.
The extensive research, back and forth with the ISA team about the level of accuracy (soybean nodules or none? How detailed should the combine be?) paid off in the end. The coloring book had to be reordered almost immediately after it debuted (along with soy crayons of course!). It was also a National Best of NAMA Merit Award Winner.