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Young Artists with Giving Hearts - Kayla and Allison Colburn

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07/01/2011 - By Gayle Irwin

Young Kayla and Allison Colburn decided that they didn't want to send just any thank you card to a friend, they wanted to send a book. The Re-gift was created, featuring their pencil drawings.

The first version was published in November 2010; the latest edition, with a redesigned cover, was published this spring.

The book is to be given to special people in a person's life. Kayla and Allison have given copies to grandparents, friends and aunts, among others. Kayla also gave a copy to her teacher and to her principal. She says she plans to give a book to her best friend, Tierra, as well.

"The book should be shared," she said.

"Everyone knows you have an angel in your life," Kayla explained. "You should pass it on to an angel in your life and put a note in there to them."

The project started as a thank you to "people who are answered prayers in our lives," said mother Leslie.

She and her daughters view the book as a way to thank those one holds dear. A website has been created and Leslie hopes people who get the book and share it will leave messages as to whom the book was given and where they live.

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"It will be neat to see where the book travels to," she said.

Kayla likes drawing and enjoyed sharing her creativity in the book. She drew most of the illustrations. She said her favorite is of an angel on a cloud. Little sister Allison drew one of the pictures: of Heaven and clouds.

Kayla said she'd like to be an artist when she grows up. In addition to black and white pencil drawings, like she made for The Re-gift, she enjoys coloring with colored pencils and with crayons. She has also worked with clay and paints.

The Re-gift continues to give. Mother Leslie and father Tom own The Cottage restaurant, and they hosted a fundraising event in order to raise money for the children at Seton House. "Book sales netted enough money to provide clothing, shoes and a haircut for nearly 50 children," Leslie said.

In addition to thanking special people through The Re-gift and helping others through its sales, the girls have had opportunity to meet other authors and illustrators. Casper artist Zack Pullen is a frequent customer at The Cottage and has been a great encourager to Leslie and Kayla. Zack provided the illustration for the re-designed cover. Kayla, who greatly enjoys reading ("I like animal stories best!" she said) met another author during a book signing held last fall. She said she enjoyed meeting people and telling them about the book.

"I saw one of my friends from school, too," she said. "I'd like to do another book," she added, "writing and drawing it. I'd like to do one about animals."

Kayla and Allison are young ladies who enjoy sharing their gifts and hearts with others and are encouraged by their parents to do so.

To learn more about The Re-gift, visit www.theregift.net or stop by The Cottage at 116 South Lincoln in Casper.

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