GPA Celebrates Philadelphia’s Diversity During World Heritage Week

As part of World Heritage Week, Global Philadelphia Association (GPA) honored Philadelphia’s international communities on May 29 by streaming readings of the Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book in English, Spanish and Japanese. 

Hosted on Facebook, three Philadelphia leaders read each version of the coloring book: the English version was read by Marilyn Russell, a broadcaster at Entercom Radio 98.1 WOGL; the Spanish version was read by Jennifer Rodriguez, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and the Japanese version was read by Yuka Yokoyama, the JapanPhilly2020 Program Manager for the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia. 

In addition to the readings, GPA also hosted a giveaway for people across the city to win their own copies of the Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book (in their preferred language). In order to be eligible, Philadelphians had to comment on GPA’s social media posts about their favorite memory from visiting a new country.

GPA commissioned Michelle Dowd, a local writer and illustrator, to create the Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book in 2017 as a way to teach the city about Philadelphia’s legacy and outstanding universal value. Readers follow Caleb and Olivia as they chase their kite and visit cultural and historical sites throughout Philadelphia, including Independence Hall, the Philadelphia Zoo and the Johnson House. In doing this, the coloring book welcomes children, ages five and up, to connect their pride in their community to their pride in themselves. 

Since releasing the initial English version of the Coloring Book, GPA has directly donated and worked with sponsors to donate 5,000 copies of the coloring book to students in the Philadelphia area. In addition to this, GPA gave away 1,200 copies of the coloring book at the Wawa Welcome America Festivals in 2017-2019. GPA also gave away 3,000 copies of the coloring book at its 2018 World Heritage Day Celebration at the Philadelphia Zoo.

GPA has developed an educational toolkit and teacher guide to help educators across the city incorporate the coloring book in their classrooms, led by GPA World Heritage Program Manager Melissa Stevens and Educational Consultant Sarah Sharp. In particular, Stevens and Sharp helped to guide Henry H. Houston Elementary School and St. Mary Interparochial School in piloting the coloring book educational program, with GPA donating 440 copies of the books to these schools. The teacher guide includes suggestions for classroom activities; information on the best practices and core standards; and complementary resources related to the people, places, events, and themes covered in the coloring book. Like the coloring book, the teacher guide is available in Spanish.

The Philadelphia World Heritage Coloring Book is available for purchase in any language for $7.95, and a link to order can be found on GPA’s website here.

About World Heritage Week

Ever since Mayor Jim Kenney instituted World Heritage Day in 2016, Philadelphia has traditionally celebrated its world heritage on the fourth Thursday in May. This year, GPA will host five days of virtual events and festivities from May 26-30 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Philadelphia receiving its World Heritage City designation. Each day’s events will take place on GPA’s social media platforms: 

In addition to the festivities, GPA will hold a #GiveBack campaign throughout the week to raise money for its charity partner, Nationalities Service Center, to support immigrants and refugees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on World Heritage City Week, visit GPA’s website

Article written by Adrian Girod on behalf of the Global Philadelphia Association