Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood

by F. Isabel Campoy

Other authorsRafael López (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2016


Checked out
Due 26 Jul 2020



HMH Books for Young Readers (2016), 40 pages


"Mira lives in a gray and hopeless urban community until a muralist arrives and, along with his paints and brushes, brings color, joy, and togetherness to Mira and her neighbors"--

User reviews

LibraryThing member Mimarler
A lovely book about the art the splashes awake a city. When Mira runs into a muralist she finds herself inspired to change and paint her city.
LibraryThing member CMcNeely
This story is heart-warming and beautiful. While we don't learn much about the main character, we form an emotional attachment to her and thus learn about her through her actions and feelings. Illustrations are solid and the book presents different formats, forcing the reader to pay attention and sometimes tilt thier head or book. Great read.… (more)
LibraryThing member MeganTrue
Such a sweet story. I found this one really enjoyable and shows a good lesson in kindness.
LibraryThing member jherring
Love the community and art that permeate this whole book. Like even more how that is based on a true story of the transformation of a neighborhood.
LibraryThing member Dipodomy
A wonderful book on the transformative power of art within a community. This book shows how anyone can make the world more beautiful and encourages kids to share their skills and vision with the world. The illustrations go with the text perfectly, starting in drab brown, grey and blacks with limited color but becoming more and more brightly colored and dynamic as more and more of the community become involved in the art project. Based on a true story, the book is illustrated by the muralist character in the book, giving the whole project an authentic and stylistically appropriate feel.… (more)
LibraryThing member Saradub
'Maybe Something BEAUTIFUL' was an inspiring picture book that encourages people to be creative! Its a fun read! This book would be fun to read right before an art project for students to feel inspired. It would also be fun for students to think about what parts of their community could possibly benefit from some art. Since this story is based on a true story, students would be able to research the location of where this is story was inspired from.… (more)
LibraryThing member Stewart24
Small details in children's books make me love them even more. This story for example, starts on the inside cover of the book, where a grey, drab city skyline is broken by a softly glowing, colorful window. The back inside cover is the same skyline but transformed, with bold and vibrant colors and a colorful bird flying through the blue sky. I think this book might become one of my new favorites. I love the message - art, community, possibility - and the illustrations are graphic, modern and a style I think children would adore. That the story is based on a true transformation makes the book even more wonderful. There is long author's note at the end that explains the real details that the story was based on; East Village near downtown San Diego, California and the impact of Rafael and Candice Lopez (artist and graphic designer).… (more)
LibraryThing member jessiechan
A story about enlivening a neighborhood through art.
LibraryThing member nbmars
This book tells the story of Mira, a little girl who lived “in the heart of a gray city,” but who loved to draw and fill her room with color. She decided to pass her pictures around to share the joy she got from brightly colored art.

One day she encountered an artist and he helped her paint bright colors on a wall, making it light up like sunshine. Other people soon joined in, drawing pictures on the bricks, adding “color, punch, and pizzazz!” As more and more people participated, “Color spread throughout the streets. So did joy.”

Mira and the artist went all around the city, painting bright colors, decorating “with poetry and shine.” The artist told the people, “You my friends, are all artists. The world is your canvas.”

As we learn in the Authors’ Note at the end of the book, a true story inspired this book. In fact, it is the story of the award-winning illustrator, Rafael López. He and his wife Candice helped form the “Urban Art Trail,” seeking volunteers of all ages, races, and walks of life to revive their community through art. The group transformed their neighborhood in San Diego’s East Village into a place of beauty. The movement spread as far away as Canada and Australia.

The joyous and colorful acrylic illustrations in this book by Rafael López himself have an emphasis on primary shapes and colors. The pictures often take up the whole double-page spread, using fluid shapes and movements to cross the seam between pages.

At a website based on the book, you can learn more about the Urban Art Trail and about murals used for beautification around the world. The site even includes a montage of pictures showing murals in many cities, including San Diego.

Evaluation: I found the “real” story more interesting than the fictional one. I also thought it was not made clear that random painting on walls is not always legal. But the illustrations are vibrant and interesting, and perhaps will inspire readers to learn more about how they, too, can make a difference in their communities.
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LibraryThing member AlbertPascal
This is bright and colorful story about a young girl who helps change her neighborhood from drab gray to fabulous. It's an uplifting story about individuals (neighbors) coming together and solving a problem. There's also an optimistic message of togetherness amidst difference.

I think this picture book would be eye-catching during story time. The illustrations are delightfully colorful and the message would be appealing in a dark world filled with division.… (more)
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
A young girl named Mira, who takes pleasure in creating beautiful, vibrantly colorful works of art, and giving them to her neighbors, tapes one of her paintings on a neighborhood wall one day, and the results are magical. A muralist appears the next day, and using her painting as a starting point, creates a gorgeous mural that transforms the gray neighborhood, and involves everybody in the project. From one small idea, maybe something beautiful will arise...

Inspired by the true story of Rafael López, an artist and muralist who, together with his wide Candice, transformed San Diego's East Village with his Urban Art Trail project, Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood pairs an engaging, heartwarming story with absolutely gorgeous illustrations. López is, in fact, not only the inspiration for co-authors F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell's story, he is the illustrator as well, and if his artwork here is anything to judge by, then his murals must be truly beautiful. I appreciated the messages here, both about the power of art to lift up a community, and get people involved in a common project, and about welcoming everyone as a possible positive contributor. I was particularly struck by the latter, and by the fact that the police officer here is depicted in a positive light, as a member of the community. Given that the police have not always been viewed so positively of late, I thought that was an especially welcome element of the story. Recommended to all young artists, and to anyone looking for children's stories about art and its role in the wider community.
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Original language


Physical description

40 p.; 10 inches


0544357698 / 9780544357693


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