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Maybe Something Beautiful named an ALA Notable Children’s Book

Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children’s books. According to the Notables Criteria, “notable” is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children’s books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways.

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood.
By F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell. Illus. by Rafael Lopez. HMH.
With paint, brushes, and artistic spirit, a muralist transforms Mira’s gray neighborhood into a place of color, joy, and unity. Based on a community art movement in San Diego, California.

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Action Book Club includes Maybe Something Beautiful in their Selection for Young Readers

We love the Little Free Library because it’s exactly what it says: little, free, and in your neighborhood!

They just started an Action Book Club featuring titles that inspire community change and progress, including Maybe Something Beautiful among the recommendations. Find the Little Free Library in your area and see how books CAN make a difference, starting with just one kid.

Visit the Little Free Library website



Something Beautiful in San Diego

Mural painting in San Diego Cooperative Charter 2

Something very beautiful is about to happen April 30th in San Diego Cooperative Charter 2. Leaders Rafael and Candice López, authors F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell and hundreds of team-makers will work together to transform a wall into a canvas that mirrors their community.



Kirkus, Starred Review

kirkus_500x95“In a neighborhood full of gray, young Mira shares her colorful art (and heart) with the world beyond her window.

First Mira gives a painting of an apple to Mr. Henry, the shop owner. She then offers a songbird to Mr. Sax and a deep red heart to the local beat cop. Still, her art project hits its limit. “Her city was less gray—but not much.” Soon a mysterious artist approaches Mira, offering a boost. “What do you see?” Mira asks him. “Maybe…something beautiful,” he replies. Leading readers on an infectious ride, Campoy and Howell’s text bristles with dazzling energy. Words pop out of the page in bursts of oomph (“BAM! POW!”) as color begins to fill the city. The authors, moreover, mix in dynamic moments with quiet scenes, producing a tone both lively and contemplatively hopeful. The illustrations, however, are the main attraction. López, whose career as a muralist inspired this story, loads each double-page spread with curves, splashes of paint, and geometric shapes, changing page orientation for emphasis at times. As Mira’s neighbors join in on the fun, the city comes alive with unforgettable human spirit. The mysterious artist sums it all up: “The world is your canvas.”

An inspiring and wistful message wrapped up in a subtle, thoughtful narrative and lively, beautiful art: simply superb.”

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Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast Review

Definitely Something Beautiful

sevenI’m taking a moment today to share some artwork from F. Isabel Campoy’s and Theresa Howell’s Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2016). The book is illustrated by award-winning artist Rafael López, but he is also the subject of the story. Based on a true story, it’s the tale of a girl, named Mira, who lights up a gray city with color after she shares her art with community members. Handing out art to everyone she passes, her city becomes “less gray—but not much.” But the next day she meets a man with “a pocket full of paintbrushes,” who sees “[m]aybe . . . something beautiful.” Mira joins him to paint murals in the city, and eventually nearly the entire town joins in to help and bring the town to life with color, art, and creativity.

Read the entire review



Meet Isabel Campoy and her latest picture book Maybe Something Wonderful

mondaysI was thinking about the many kinds of riches and for me the foremost is the richness of relationships. I’ve been fortunate enough to know Isabel Campoy who along with her partner in love and literacy Alma Flor Ada, have been instrumental in bringing about diversity in children’s literature for many years. They’ve used an asset approach by highlighting the beauty, humor, depth and broadness of Latino culture as exemplified in Maybe Something Wonderful: How art transformed a neighborhood that Isabel shares in this interview. I hope that you feel the love that Isabel shares in her life and work and that I’ve been a grateful recipient of for over 20 years now.

Here’s the less than 12 minute video, followed by a little about Isabel and some of her other books.

Read the entire interview