One of the interesting aspects of Los Angeles is that it’s an intricate weaving of concrete jungle and natural beauty. It’s a city ridiculed for an overreliance on cars and often, by unobservant outsiders, called an ugly tangle of brick walls and highways, but we Angelenos know that just off some of those highways are emerald gems (sometimes small, sometimes sprawling). Our parks, not our highways, are our city’s arteries.
The creators of We Heart L.A. Parks, a coloring book that is so much more, pay homage to L.A. parks in this new book that features personal stories, park histories and original artwork of 52 parks by more than 50 local contributors, from ages 8 to 87. Contributors include everyone from park activists to established muralists to elementary and high school students.
The book is published by the women-led creative collective and indie press Narrated Objects, which also brought us the well-received We Heart P-22 book about our famous mountain lion P-22.
Editors Teena Apeles and Andrea Richards say they chose the family-friendly coloring-book format to reach – and include – young budding activists and people of all ages, and to cover park equity, activism and history in creative and personal ways. Some highlights of the book include:
- Two colorful foldout maps of the 50+ parks featured and an L.A. parks–inspired board game, co-conceived by Apeles’ 8-year-old daughter, Dominie.
- Birth of BMX at Palms Park and the incredible story of how elementary-school kids made South L.A.’s Estrella Park.
- “A Place to Grow” essayby Dennis Cooper, community gardener of West Athens Victory Garden, who writes about the lack of fresh produce in South L.A. and how he fought for funding for the garden and more public parks with other community members.
- Tongva elder Julia Bogany provides the land acknowledgment that opens the book.
The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust will receive a percentage of the book’s profits.