KidLit: Putumayo Kids Releases Activity Books
Many fans of world music are also fans of the non-profit Putumayo label because it releases wonderful collections of music featuring a variety of artists, often highlighting a genre or a theme, such as Putumayo Kids Kids World Party, Acoustic Dreamland, and—my favorite—New Orleans Playground.
Putumayo now offers a collection of “World Culture Products,” activity books that introduce children to the cultures of other countries. These are Putumayo Kids’ first new products other than CDs. The first six books have been released: Africa, Europe, and Latin America coloring books and sticker collections. Recently I sampled the Europe Coloring Book and the Latin America Sticker Collection. I was delighted to find that all of the books in the collection are illustrated by Nicola Heindl, whose colorful, folkloric creations grace the cover of over 150 Putumayo CDs.
The Europe Coloring Book includes 20 oversized coloring pages that introduce kids to the people, animals, and musical instruments of Europe. Famous landmarks, maps, flags, and social scenes provide children with a virtual European tour. The pages are 11½” x 14”, and are printed with earth-friendly soy ink on heavy paper.
The Latin America Sticker Collection is a hard-cover tri-fold (9” x 9”) with over 120 colorful stickers that can be reused to create landscapes and build stories. It offers brief profiles of animals and musical instruments in both English and Spanish, and children will enjoy populating its seaside village with kids, animals, and musicians. The fold-out Latin American landscape and map is impressively sturdy, and it, too, is printed with soy inks.
As a children’s advocate, I often find myself with young clients and entertain them with activity books. I am thrilled to add the Putumayo books to my collection because they introduce children to new worlds and are well made. The suggested retail price of the coloring books is $9.95 and of the sticker collections is $11.95.