Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood

F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illus. by Rafael López. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-35769-3
Inspired by how illustrator López and his wife, Candice, helped enliven their San Diego neighborhood through art, Campoy and Howell introduce Mira, a young artist who sees possibilities in blank paper and loves to give away her pictures (“She gave a songbird to Mr. Sax and a red heart to the policeman who walked up and down the streets”). Mira finds a kindred spirit in a joyful muralist: “Maybe... something beautiful,” he thinks as he looks at a painting Mira has taped to a dreary wall. As Mira begins contributing her own murals, others join in. Somber gray buildings are soon replaced by electric shades of pink, blue, and orange—the bold shapes, vivid colors, and flattened tableaus of López’s mixed-media artwork bring a mural-like atmosphere to every page as Campoy and Howell deliver a clear, uplifting message about the power of art to revitalize people and their surroundings. Ages 4–7. Agency: Full Circle Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/25/2016
Release date: 04/12/2016
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