FEMA pulls Minnesota crisis coloring book

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH
  • Star Tribune
  • April 30, 2009 - 12:10 AM

A coloring book from southeastern Minnesota, written and designed to help children cope with disasters and other crises, has been removed from a federal government website after one or more complaints about its content, a county official said Wednesday afternoon.

"A Scary Thing Happened" contains a colored drawing depicting the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, including a plane approaching one tower while another is ringed in flames.

The book was removed from the website of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Tuesday, said Rose Olmsted, whose Freeborn County Crisis Response Team created the book in 2003, after tornadoes struck in Glenville. Olmsted said it's the first time anyone has criticized the book or its content.

In a statement, FEMA spokesman Clark Stevens said, "The coloring book, which was put online in 2003, was removed last week, and FEMA is currently reviewing all Web content designed and posted by the previous administration." Stevens declined to take any questions, including about any complaints the agency may have received.

Olmsted said she was not told "who complained or how many complained. They felt that they had to take it off the website."

The book has been used extensively around the country to help children who have been "traumatized by a number of different things," she said, including the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis in 2007.

"I'm gong to be putting together to FEMA a letter detailing the many ways that this book has been used," Olmsted said, adding that she'll be including a letter she has on file from FEMA praising the book.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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