Cartoonists' colouring book for refugees

Wednesday 27th September 2023

Leading cartoonists have created an uplifting Great British Colouring Book to be given to refugee children arriving in the UK.

The 62-page book has been created by the Professional Cartoonists Organisation (PCO) and will be distributed to children newly arrived in the UK via refugee charities and support groups.

Among the 50 contributors are Quentin Blake, Ralph Steadman, Chris Riddell, Ros Asquith, Nicola Jennings and Terry Gilliam. Their drawings reflect regional themes (The Loch Ness Monster, Highland cows and Welsh dragons, for example) as well as UK-wide hallmarks such as a full English breakfast, football, sea life and wet weather.

The idea for the colouring book came out of anger and dismay at the instruction by immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, to paint over a welcoming cartoon mural at an immigration reception centre in Kent.  38 Degrees, a community campaign organisation with a million supporters, offered to raise funds and organise printing and distribution of the book.

Matthew McGregor, 38 Degrees chief executive, said: “So many of us felt angry, heartbroken and helpless at the cruel news of the mural being painted over. We wanted to use our collective power to counter this with something positive.”

Overnight, supporters raised more than enough money for an initial run of 1,000 books.  Excess funds were donated to the Refugee Council, one of the organisations who will help get these books into the hands of recently-arrived refugees.

To donate to the project - just £3 will fund a book and some colouring pencils - and support the work of the organisations who are helping 38 Degrees distribute the books, visit the campaign's website

Update: 17 November 2023
A second book is now on sale to the public, with proceeds going to the Refugee Council and 38 Degrees' campaigns. The new edition incorporates the original book’s drawings, plus new work from other cartoonists and illustrators.   Find out more and buy your copy from the 38 Degrees website