Belmont Provides 30,000 MNPS Schoolchildren Debate-Themed Coloring Book

‘Ideas of America’ activity book for kindergarten thru 4th graders created in consultation with, distribution by Metro Nashville Public Schools

Coloring Book Cover

Get those crayons ready! In advance of the Oct. 22 Presidential Debate, Belmont University and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced today the upcoming release of Debate-themed activity books that will be provided for free to 30,000 MNPS kindergarten through fourth-grade students. Sponsored and produced by Lithographics with paper provided by International Paper and printed on Accent® Opaque, the books provide coloring and activity pages designed to educate and inspire elementary-age students about the executive branch of government and the upcoming presidential debate in Nashville on Belmont’s campus. To extend the audience even further, the book is also available as a free download on the University’s Debate website.

“Hosting a presidential debate presents immense challenges and immense opportunities,” said Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher. “As committed as we are to providing a welcoming and safe atmosphere for our debate guests, we’re equally dedicated to ensuring this event offers educational opportunities for our students and young people across the city. This coloring book, titled in honor of our debate academic theme of the ‘Ideas of America,’ will give kids of all ages a fun way to connect personally to a historic event happening in their backyard.” 

Belmont and MNPS were intentional in creating activities that aligned with curricular activities planned for the fall semester so that the book can support what’s being taught already virtually and in the classroom. The publication includes coloring pages reflecting on the presidential election along with activities designed to engage students with vocabulary and concepts aligned to Tennessee state educational standards. 

David S. Williams, Ed.D., executive officer for teaching and learning at Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, said, “We have been pleased to work with Belmont University for the last several months considering we can capitalize on their being a host of a 2020 Presidential Debate. One of the results was the development of a coloring book for our elementary students. We are excited about sharing this coloring book with our students as it is incredibly engaging with crossword puzzles, mazes, word finds, and more. Beyond ensuring it was academically grounded in our state standards, we wanted to be sure our youngest learners are introduced to principles and ideas of civic engagement in a fun way.”

Debate illustration in Coloring Book

The coloring book plays off Belmont’s Debate theme, “The Ideas of America,” which aims to explore many of the ideas at the heart of the American story: our history, democracy, the vote, the rights and responsibilities of citizens and more. A brainchild of the University’s Debate Community Relations committee, the “Ideas of America” coloring and activities book was created by Belmont employees with all original artwork and illustrations by graphic designer Myles Ketelsen. MNPS will provide the books, along with other physical instructional materials to schools, as well as to families via a drive through pick up process, as part of the distribution of materials for quarter two. The coloring books will be given to each elementary student regardless of if the student will receive in-person instruction or remain virtual.

“The Ideas of America” activities book was made possible by sponsors Lithographics Inc., a premier Nashville printing company since 1975, along with International Paper, which is headquartered in Memphis and a leading global producer of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper products that people depend on every day. The 30,000 books were printed by Lithographics on International Paper’s premium printing brand, Accent® Opaque 70 lb. Text Smooth.

In addition to the coloring book for elementary classes, Belmont is also partnering with MNPS for a Presidential Debate Essay Contest for middle and high school students. The deadline for those submissions is Oct. 5, and additional information can be found here.