This COVID-Themed Coloring Book Has Raised $18K—And It Was Created By Teens

A high school economics class assignment has evolved into a successful, charitable venture that's supporting organizations like Black Lives Matter.

be the change coloring book
Photo: Photo courtesy of Erin Rogers

When 15-year-olds Lauryn Hong, Ella Matlock, Sofia Migliazza, and Erin Rogers were tasked to create a business plan by their high school teachers, they didn't exactly expect the end result would be raising thousands of dollars for organizations like Black Lives Matter. But that's exactly what happened when these four teens from Long Beach, California launched their COVID-19-themed coloring book for kids.

"We were supposed to create marketing plans, Google Sheets, and a pitch for a business," explains Rogers. "All of us knew that we wanted to create something that would help kids during this time because they might need a little more entertainment while staying home. So, a coloring book seemed like an ideal way to help them learn while having fun. It is filled with activities, drawings to color in and, most importantly, a story narrated by Al E. Gator, Sam the Snail, and Wally the Narwhal."

Throughout the coloring book, characters remind readers to take health precautions like wash their hands and wear a mask.

Be the Change Coloring Co.
Be the Change Coloring Co.

Rogers says she and her classmates took two months to write, draw, and design the book before it was sent off to a local printer. "We thought, 'Maybe, at the most, we could sell 25 copies to family and close friends,'" explains Rogers. "Our first printing, based just on pre-orders, was 450 copies, which left us stunned. People began to receive their books soon after, and congratulated us on how well we explained COVID-19."

Be the Change Coloring Co.
Be the Change Coloring Co.

To date, the teens have sold about 9,000 books and donated $18K to organizations like Black Lives Matter and local hospitals.

Inspired by the coloring book's success and motivated to cover other tough topics for kids and support charities, the teens formed a nonprofit called Be the Change Coloring Co. "The main purpose of all of our books is to help others, whether it is from our donations—40 percent of the price for each book goes to the organization of your choice—or from the educational aspect of the content," says Rogers.

So far, they've come up with additional ideas for at least five new books. "Our second book, Stand Up for Your-shell-ves, which addresses social justice through a story with Al, Sam, and Wally, will be out soon," says Rogers.

The secret to the teens' success? According to Rogers, it's the winning combo of "creativity, sheer determination, and hard work."

For more information, visit the Be the Change Coloring Co. website.

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