Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F.Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael Lopez, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016
Mira lives in a grey city. She draws and colours for herself and for her neighbours, making small changes, until she meets an artist, a muralist (inspired by the ilustrator, Rafael Lopez) and together they bring the whole community together in painting their streets to create a beautiful joyous place. Just as the colour transforms the city in the story, so the illustrations jump with colour and energy and happiness. It’s a simple tale, based on true events, told with reflection but no sentimentality and some gentle humour. It’s full of important lessons – the impact of environment and surroundings on a neighbourhood and its residents, the power of art and of community, the ability of people to make change – but it doesn’t preach. Simple and bright enough for little ones with plenty more there for the older ones too.
I loved this so much I found other books illustrated by Rafael Lopez including the wonderful Dancing Hands by Margarita Engle, and I am eagerly anticipating their Drum Dream Girl, on its way from Bookshop.