Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood | by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a NeighborhoodMaybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book caught my eye while browsing the stacks at my local public library because even from a distance I recognized the work of illustrator Rafael López on display in the children’s section. It rang familiar to me as it reminded me of the art in Jacqueline Woodson’s book, The Day You Begin.

As it turns out, Rafael López is a muralist and he and his wife and the movement they started in their community (in the East Village near downtown San Diego, CA) are the inspiration behind Maybe Something Beautiful. It follows the story of a little girl who beautifies her neighborhood with artwork. What was once gray and drearily dull, soon became a vibrant expression of beauty and joy. It took the work of a whole neighborhood. A community coming together to uplift all who lived there and anyone just passing through.

This book is an amazing work of art and I look forward to adding it to my K-5 library and sharing the story, including the inspiration behind it with my students. It would be well suited as an addition to any art curriculum that wishes to teach about muralists and their work in the community. It would be a good fit in any library media center’s curriculum too as we study the work of all manner of book creators. I enjoy introducing my students to the work and style of a variety of illustrators. There is a website full of resources too. The site shares the same name as the book, and it includes lesson plans in both English and Spanish. Check it out!

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F. Isabel Camppy |

Theresa Howell |

Rafael López |

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt |

Maybe Something Beautiful |

The Freedom Wall Community Art Project | Buffalo, NY

Reading this book made me think about the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and their Art Gallery Public Art Initiative in partnership with Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in 2017. Their project beautified what were once barren, dull walls, transforming them into an incredible symbol of creativity, leadership, and legacy in Buffalo. Each incredible piece was masterfully created by local artists: John Baker, Julia Bottoms, Chuck Tingley, and Edreys Wajed. Below you will find some of the pictures I took while attending the opening event in 2017. You can read more about this project here. It includes a link to the documentary that will take you behind the scenes of the creative process.

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