Elephant featured in bilingual hospice coloring book

Jennifer Fry

Staff writer

Ellen Balke, wife of Uvalde City Councilman Steve Balke and former proprietor of the Flower Patch, has designed a children’s coloring book for distribution within the Uvalde Memorial Hospital hospice program.

The coloring book centers on the story of an old elephant named Wilbur who is sick but wants to stay in his home. Characters representing hospice workers help to care for Wilbur until his death. Later, Wilbur’s friends gather to remember him.

“It’s a very sad coloring book,” Balke said. “But it’s reality. It’s all right to be sad. And it’s all right to remember Wilbur and move on from there.”

“It helps them [children] move through the pain of losing someone you love,” Balke said, speaking of the coloring book’s purpose.

“There are so many books available for children that deal with the loss of a loved one, but not for dealing with the illness and decline leading up to death,” said Heidi Mathewson, administrator for the hospice program.

Balke said the book took about six months to put together. She began toying with the idea after starting her volunteer service with the hospice program about a year ago.


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