Rain is pelting the windows as three young moms walk into the Bright’s Grove library, pull up chairs and begin colouring on sheets of paper.
The music is calming and a table jar bristles with dozens of pencil crayons.
Amy Bennett says she discovered adult colouring about three months ago after a friend got hooked. A small, intricate picture takes her three to four hours to complete, she says.
Beside her, Amy Dreise uses a coloured pencil to fill in the blank spaces. It’s a relaxing, even therapeutic way to spend some time, she says.
‘It forces you to focus on the small details, so it’s almost like meditation.”
Once dismissed as child’s play, colouring is all the rage among adults with numerous clubs and informal groups springing up across Sarnia in recent months.
High schools are getting in on the act and both the Sarnia and Bright’s Grove library branches now offer regular sessions so people can drop in and colour in peace.
“It’s unbelievable. It truly is a phenomenon,” says Susan Chamberlain, owner of The Book Keeper.
To keep up with the explosion of interest the Northgate store now stocks more than 100 different adult colouring book titles, each with multiple copies.
“I am personally stunned at how many we are selling,” she says.
Likewise, the store’s pencil crayons and markers sold out, not once, but twice.
“The third time I tripled the size of my order just get through Christmas,” she says.
“Meditation and mindfulness are the new health craze, and this is part of that. It’s sort of a branch of meditation, a calming thing that takes you away from your stress.”
The phenomenon began with Secret Garden, published in 2013, followed by the release of Enchanted Forest. Both colouring books topped bestseller lists in Canada and the U.S.
In fact, four of the top 10 bestselling books in Canada across all categories right now are colouring books, a phenomenon that hasn’t been seen in decades, according to The Canadian Press.
Back at the library, Jacquie Beasley is dialed in on her work. She describes how her mother has set up a large colouring page at the table so family members can take turns filling it in at breakfast.
“It’s definitely relaxing,” she says. “And I’ve always been jealous of my kids colouring.”