Colorful Kabul

In 1968, the Children's Committee of the American Women's Association in Kabul, Afghanistan, published a coloring and activity book to be used by English speaking children living in Kabul. The book was also distributed to children who were passengers on Ariana Airlines. People who knew about the politics of the world at the time, were amused because each child who received a coloring book also received a little box of crayons manufactured in Communist China, which at the time had no trade relations with America. Ever since, Alexander the Great came three centuries before Christ, Genghis Khan in the 13th century and Marco Polo in the 14th century, Afghanistan has been at the cross roads of the world. Feel free to make copies of the pictures shown here for non-profit use with children. They were drawn by Sandy Laskey and Penne Laingen. Alleen Nilsen edited the book and worked with the Children's Committee chair, Kay Pickett, to get it published and distributed.

  • The Sheep
    You may color these sheep bright pink, purple, orange, or green because in Afghanistan the sheep herders dye their sheep different colors so they can tell which sheep belong to which families. Click here for printable version.
  • The Afghan hound
    Afghan hounds are famous for their elegant stance and their curly tails. See if you can figure out the colors that should go in this cross-word puzzle. A couple of hints to get you started are that blue is a sacred color and that green paint was especially cheap. Click here for printable version.
  1. (down) A famous mosque in Kabul was called the _______________ mosque.
  2. (across) The Afghan flag is red, green, and ________________.
  3. (down) Many houses and walls are ______________ because they are made from mud.
  4. (across) One of the places to shop in Kabul is called the __________ door bazaar.
  5. (down) Most Afghan rugs are dark ____________.
  6. (across) When dressed up for holidays, Afghan boys usually wear long ___________ shirts which are embroidered.
  • The Market
    In Afghanistan many things can be found which do not exist in English speaking countries and so English speakers use the Farsi names just as Afghans do. Try to figure out which words go in which spaces. (In alphabetical order they are bazaar, chaderi, goti, karachi, mosque, and nan, which is Afghan bread.) Click here for printable version.
  • The Rug
    Children help to weave and tie the knots in Afghan rugs. A family works many months to make one rug. The eight blocks in the middle of this one make up what is called an elephants' foot design. Click here for printable version.
  • The Chest
    Many Afghans are skilled carvers. Even from scrap lumber they can make beautiful chests like this one. Click here for printable version.