Thursday, June 28, 2018

*Review* Colorful Havana by Laura Lahm and Trevor Essmeier

Genre: Coloring Book
Published: April 21, 2018
Pages: 38

Follow the map and explore the famous landmarks and hidden gems of Havana, Cuba and color along the way. Exploring is made easy as the book begins with a map of the city followed by a corresponding index in both Spanish and English for each of the whimsically illustrated locations featured in the book. Explorers can travel and color from the colonial cobblestones of Old Havana to the musicians playing along the Malecón.

I received a copy of this book from the author. This is my honest review. 

I don't think I can adequately describe how excited I was to get this book in the mail. This is the first time I've had the opportunity to receive a coloring book to review, so when it arrived in my mailbox it was like the best day ever (at least the best day last week). 

For starters, I feel like I should explain what I like to find in coloring books. I like them to be on the simple side, not like dollar store cartoon character coloring book simple, but I'm not a fan of super intricate scenes, much preferring patterns and mandalas. I find coloring those much more relaxing. 

So you might be wondering why I'd want a book of famous landmarks from Havana, and the answer is simple. The cover led me to believe that while the book features scenes, they are not super intricate. They're actually a nice blend of scene and pattern. And I'm happy to report that the cover was not misleading. While I haven't had the time to actually sit down and color in my new book yet, I have flipped through the pages and found several that I'm really excited to brighten up. Several of the pages could even be colored with crayons (I typically feel like adult coloring books require colored pencils or fine-tip markers just to stay inside the lines), which if you have children like I do, you're likely to have laying around the house, literally all over. (And you know the kids begged you to buy the 120 crayon box and you caved because back in our day we only got 64 colors, you know, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. This would be a great book to test out those 56 extra colors on.) 

But not only do I get to color some really fun scenes, but I can find where they are in relation to each other on the provided map and learn more about them in both English and Spanish (I can only learn more about them in English because my Spanish is muy limited). Maybe I'm weird that I like my coloring books to be at least a little educational, but I do. I get really excited when I get to learn something about what I'm coloring. 

And the icing on this wonderful cake is that all the coloring pages are perforated at the top. So if I should be coloring and my daughter should happen to catch me and want to color a picture too, I can just tear out one page for her to color and not have to hand over the whole book to be lost forever in the abyss that she calls a bedroom. And more importantly, at least some of the illustrations are simple enough that at seven years old, she should be able to color them while staying inside the lines (with those crayons that she's left laying all over the house). 

Overall I give Colorful Havana 5.0003 stars. - Katie 

Laura Lahm, founder of Colorful Cities, is the creator and publisher of the “Explore & Color” travel guide and coloring book series for fabulous cities around the world. After years of intrepid travel for both work and pleasure, Lahm took the leap from marketing for high-tech companies to sharing her passion of exploring unique cities coupled with a penchant for good design to create the first book, Colorful Seattle – Explore & Color. Subsequent cities in the series include: Tokyo, Portland and Havana. Colorful Cities is a bronze winner of the 2016 Independent Publishers Book Award in the travel and guidebook category.

About the Illustrator

Having picked up his first crayon at age 2, Trevor Essmeier has been professionally illustrating videos, infographics, comics, and books for clients the last 12 years. A Seattle native, Trevor loves the amazing coffee and art community the city has to offer.


  1. How did you get this to review? Did the author contact you? I've never heard of this before and I think its cool.

    1. I'm on IBPA's (Independent Book Publishers Association) blogger list. I get emails when there are new books on offer from indie authors that work with IBPA. When the email for this book came through, I jumped at the chance to get it because coloring book. Then it arrived and it was even better than I was expecting. - Katie