Maybe something beautiful: How art transformed a neighbourhood

A beautiful story…

A Sense of Belonging: Classrooms with a strong sense of community help children feel welcomed, secure, and competent. And with security and the feeling of competence, children explore, take risks, form meaningful relationships, and learn [How Does Learning Happen?]

The idea that murals can be used as a way to revitalize communities is beautifully told in Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael López. This book is based on Mr. López’s successful effort in transforming a neighbourhood in San Diego through the power of public art.

|Mural| A work of art, usually a painting, that is done directly on a wall or ceiling, or another surface that is mounted to a wall. Murals are usually large scale and are commonly found in public areas.


The story follows a little girl… Mira 

As described by Isabel Campoy “Mira is an eloquent rebel. She believes in herself, and it manifests daily through little drawings that she gives to members of the neighbourhood. Her name means “LOOK” in Spanish, because in order to want to change something you first need to notice what you have around. The drawings of Mira portray her with eyes wide open– absolutely beautiful!


What good can a splash of colour do in a community of gray?

Mira lives in a very grey city, whose room is filled with light and color thanks to her art. She shares some of it with her neighbours but that is not enough to change their surroundings. Then a muralist comes forward and together the neighbours put brush to paint to make their city gray no more.


“How art can inspire transformation—and how even the smallest artists can accomplish something big.” 

Here are just a few questions to spark up a conversation:

  • Who helped paint the murals in the story?
  • Why is it important that everyone helped paint the murals instead of only Mira?
  • What images do you see in the book/murals?
  • What kind of colors did the illustrator use?
  • What makes your neighborhood special?
  • What makes your neighborhood beautiful
  • What does community mean?
  •  What do you think happens when everyone in the neighborhood/community help with a project?


Together they changed their world into something more human, more livable, [and] more aesthetic. All done through the magic of art.

“This empowering story of community engagement might inspire kids to get involved in their own neighborhoods.”

Check out the Maybe Something Beautiful website at for more information on the book, authors, illustrator, book tours, the Urban Art Trail and more.


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