May 9th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 | Primary (Grades K-2) | 2017-2018 Primary | November

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell.  Illustrated by Rafael López. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

Mira brightens up her own life and the lives of those in her neighborhood with the colorful pictures she creates. When she meets a muralist, they begin painting on walls around the neighborhood and soon the whole community is involved: shop owners and teachers, police officers and parents. And of course, children. Music blares and colors dazzle and the atmosphere—physical and emotional—is transformed. “Everyone painted to the rhythm. Salsa, merengue, bebop! Even Mira’s mama painted and danced the cha-cha-cha!” A buoyant picture book is based on the true story of painter Rafael López who, with his wife, organizer Candice López, brought public art to a San Diego neighborhood, creating the Urban Art Trail. Rafael López illustrates this fictionalized account of that effort with dazzling mixed-media artwork that showcases the vibrant transformation. An author’s note includes photographs of the actual murals and some of the young painters. Highly Commended, 2017 Charlotte Zolotow Award ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. In the beginning, how does Mira show kindness and make her neighborhood less gray?
  2. What does the painter see when he looks at Mira’s picture?
  3. “Art followed the man and Mira, like the string of a kite.” What do you think that means?
  4. What ideas do you have for ways you can work with your community to bring more beauty to the place where you live?


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