Historical coloring book unveils city heritage

Aniyah Wallace, 8, colors a page of Maricopa's new historical coloring book at her kitchen table on Aug. 24, 2023. [Ashley Wallace]

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a book full of them must tell quite the story.  

That’s just what Maricopa City Councilmember Amber Liermann hoped for when she released a coloring book focused on Maricopa’s people and history this week.   

Liermann spearheaded the effort to educate about the city’s history through art. She felt inspired when a similar project come to fruition in Galveston Island, Texas. 

“I saw pride, history, culture, landmarks, tradition, animals, vegetation and art that described and educated people about their community,” she said. “I hope Maricopa’s coloring book does the same for our residents and surrounding communities.” 

The coloring book is set to wind up in the hands of children at the Maricopa Historical Society, the city library and Exceptional Community Hospital.  

Digital copies will later become available on the city’s website for parents and teachers to download.  

Local portrait artist and art teacher Daniel Sturgeon spent months encapsulating Maricopa’s uniqueness through illustration. 

“I want the book to inspire as much interest in Maricopa’s roots for everyone as it did for me,” Sturgeon said. “I can’t wait to see the book fully realized in color.”

AnnaMarie Knorr, Exceptional Community Hospital’s director of community outreach, poses for a photo with Councilmember Amber Liermann in the hospital’s lobby on Aug. 25, 2023. The pair hold a copy of Maricopa’s new historical coloring book. [Courtesy of Amber Liermann]
Images in the 24-page coloring book include Maricopa’s first teacher Laura Parsons, longtime Maricopa farmer and Detroit Lions quarterback Fred Enke, a view of the historic California Zephyr train car and, of course, a portrait of John Wayne. 

“I really like the selection of images that were chosen for the coloring book because I think they’ll spur on some conversation about Maricopa’s uniqueness and history,” Liermann said.

Mayor Nancy Smith is also featured in the coloring book as the first female to occupy the city’s highest elected role. 

“We’re always trying to share the history of Maricopa with adults, but reaching children can be more difficult,” she said. “This connects that history to our children easily through pictures. We’re educating and entertaining them.”