Color your way through a whimsical adventure as you discover Alabama in an all-new experience with author Laura Murray’s book, “Amazing Alabama: A Coloring Book Journey Through Our 67 Counties”.
From as far back as Laura can remember, she has always loved to draw and had a special interest in coloring books. It was during her childhood in Athens, Georgia, that this passion first blossomed.
“I’ve always collected coloring books,” said Murray. “If I go to a new town, or into a museum, funky bookstore, I always look for color books, especially local ones.”
As Laura grew up, her desire to draw continued to grow with her. She attended Brenau Women’s College in Gainesville, Georgia, and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. She spent over 15 years in the corporate design world, specializing in graphic design and illustration before she decided to start her own design business. Her latest project – Amazing Alabama.
Amazing Alabama – a coloring book for both kids and adults – showcases the history of each Alabama county with page after page of unique illustrations. Each page also features text that describes each individual county. What’s also interesting about the book is that it doesn’t just serve as a coloring book; it also serves as an educational tool for both children and adults. According to Laura,
“This book can be used in classrooms to educate children … to pique their interest in a different way … I want adults to sit down and color this book and learn something new about the state that they never knew before.”
So what exactly sparked Laura’s idea for Amazing Alabama? When Murray was at the Alabama Book Festival last May, she was unable to find a coloring book that featured Alabama. Her disappointment spurred her to create a coloring book of her own; one that featured Alabama as its star. She decided to put her marketing and graphic design skills to work and created some drawings to send her to friend at New South Books in Montgomery. Before she knew it, she was called in for a meeting and had a book deal in the works.
“I had a book deal before I even really knew what the book was going to be like,” said Murray. “It was a fast process.”
From start to finish, the entire process took around 10 months.
Though not originally from Alabama, Laura moved to Auburn a little over three years ago. Because she had not lived in Alabama for very long before beginning her creation, she didn’t know much about the state. In order to accurately depict Alabama’s counties in her illustrations, she had to spend a fair amount of time researching, a lot of which was done by driving and navigating her way around different counties and towns. She also used the Encyclopedia of Alabama and the National Register of Historic Places as reference guides, and spoke with county locals in order to enhance her knowledge about specific areas.
During Laura’s creation of Amazing Alabama, she had this to say:
“It was easy to fall in love with Alabama after getting to know her a bit better. This is a really cool state, and a lot of people don’t appreciate what we have and how far we’ve come. Not only is Alabama biologically diverse, but we were at the forefront of the Civil Rights movement, we built the Saturn 5 rocket that sent man to the moon, Annie Sullivan taught Helen Keller to read and speak here, the first Mardi Gras was celebrated in Mobile, and I don’t know how anything can top the World’s Largest Peanut Boil in Crenshaw County!”
In fact, Laura said there are so many interesting things about Alabama that she “could definitely have done multiple versions of Amazing Alabama and still wouldn’t have been able to fit everything in.”
Laura’s favorite page in the book is of Morgan County, which features enormous hot air balloons from Decatur’s Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Festival, the Federal-style courthouse building in Somerville, the restored Princess Theater, the migrating mallards from Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, the Old State Bank, and CF Penn Hamburgers, which continues to be a regional delicacy once loved by “The King”, Elvis Presley.
Amazing Alabama can be found at Books-a-Million.
Want a personalized signed copy? Laura will be at the Opelika Books-a-Million at 2p.m. on November 11, and at the Brookhighland Books-a-Million at 2p.m. on November 18. What a unique gift idea!