cover image Signs of Hope: The Revolutionary Art of Sister Corita Kent

Signs of Hope: The Revolutionary Art of Sister Corita Kent

Mara Rockliff, illus. by Melissa Sweet. Abrams, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5221-6

Just right for young creatives, this optimistic biography of artist Corita Kent (1918–1986) shimmers with the figure’s energy and sense of possibility. The story launches with an art lesson explained by an unidentified narrator: “Sister Corita teaches us to SEE/ what everybody sees/ but doesn’t see.” Images depicting a group viewing the world through a “finder”—a piece of cardboard with a square removed—and experimenting with art in a classroom are interspersed with hand-rendered typography that quotes Kent’s insights (“The commonplace is not worthless, there is simply lots of it”). Yellows, pinks, and oranges dominate Sweet’s mixed-media collage illustrations, which pivot to b&w to portray a scene describing “injustice, inequality, prejudice, poverty” and back into color to convey Kent’s eventual renown and departure from the church. Combining pop art and protest, the result is a joyous nexus of experimentation and creative responsibility that details a “small and quiet” figure whose art remains “big and loud.” Creators’ notes, an artist timeline, and a list of quotation sources conclude. Background characters are portrayed with various skin tones. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)