Book Club – Maybe Something Beautiful

Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell, Illustrated by Rafael López.

Summary of the book:

Maybe Something Beautiful  How Art Transformed a Neighborhood is a story of how little Mira transforms a neighborhood with her artistry and gets the whole community involved.

In the back of the book is the story of Rafael and Candice López who are the inspiration for this story. They transformed their neighborhood with the help of their local community by painting murals, benches, among other things and created the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, California (and beyond).  Rafael López is also the illustrator of this vibrant book!

Watch this video clip for a visual summary of the book:

Check out the Maybe Something Beautiful website at for more information on the book, authors, illustrator, book tours, the Urban Art Trail and more. On this website they ask to, “Share photos of what makes your neighborhood beautiful with the hashtag #MaybeSomethingBeautiful.”  What a great question for your child to explore and respond after reading this book. Here is what my kids chose from our neighborhood…

Maybe Something Beautiful




There are two different activity recommendations for this month’s book. The first is an individual activity of making a personal mini mural inside a book. The other activity is making a community mural which can be done with Lemonade Book Club members, friends, neighbors and classmates.

Before starting either activity, take time to discuss the story and illustrations in the book.  Here are just a few questions to spark up a conversation and get every participant involved in the discussion:

  1. Who helped paint the murals in the story?
  2. Why is it important that everyone helped paint the murals instead of only Mira?
  3. What images do you see in the book/murals?
  4. What kind of colors did the illustrator use?
  5. What makes your neighborhood special? (Have them take a photo and hashtag #MaybeSomethingBeautiful)
  6. What does community mean?
  7. At the end of the book when you learn about the real story of Rafael and Candice López, why do you think they asked everyone in the community to help (police, homeless, parents, children, graffiti artists)?  What do you think happens when everyone in the neighborhood/community help with a project?

Before painting with your child, you may want to look up the art work by Rafael López and the Urban Art Trail in San Diego for more ideas and inspiration.  Below are a few resources for you to check out to get the creative juices flowing:


Activity #1 – Mural in a Book:

maybe something beautiful mural
maybe something beautiful activity necklace

You need:

  • Accordion folded paper (any size) *If you want to make a really large accordion book or mural, you can find long rolls of paper at most craft stores.
  • Pencil for sketching
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Cup with water for rinsing brushes


  • Cardboard (for front and back covers)
  • Decorative paper to cover the cardboard
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon

Experiment – Before painting the mural for the book, your child may want to experiment first on a separate piece of paper with drawing shapes and painting them so he or she can get an idea of how the paint spreads and the size that the shapes need to be. Treat this as a practice run to make any adjustments or changes necessary before you child actually begins painting his mural for the book.

Choose a theme – Ask your child if they want to choose a theme for the mural (i.e. summer fun, animals, types of weather, etc.)

Sketch and paint  – On an accordion folded paper, have your child sketch out lots of shapes and remind them to make the drawings large enough to paint.  Get out a pallet of bright paint and begin painting the mural.  Make use of as many colors as possible to create a very lively mural.

Title or Write About the Mural – When finished ask your child, what is this painting about?  What is the name of your painting?  Write the title on the front of the accordion book or on the back of the painting (when dry).


When the paint has dried, wrap the cover boards with decorative paper and glue the cover boards to the ends. Watch this how-to video to complete the book with cover ends and ribbon to securely close the book.

This can also be made into an accordion book necklace for a mini mural to carry with you wherever you go! If you choose this option, make sure you create a small mural / accordion book.

Activity #2 – Community Mural

Maybe Something Beautiful - Community Mural

After reading Maybe Something Beautiful, discussing the artwork and showing examples from the Urban Art Trail, have children work in groups to create a mural.

Discuss – Children will discuss a topic/theme for their mural (i.e. Keep the earth clean, a historical event, important landmarks of a city, etc.)

Sketch – Using large (unfolded) butcher paper, students will sketch an area of the mural.

Paint – Give a few guidelines such as:

  • Start in the middle and work out towards the edges
  • Everyone gets a section to paint
  • Share the paints with others, etc.

An Important Note – Remember IT’S THE PROCESS, NOT THE PRODUCT that matters most.

As the facilitator of this activity, you can choose and prioritize the focus of the activity. I know very little about painting techniques, therefore for this activity; I wanted the focus to be on working together as a community. There are many activities that we do with our children, that it is important to remember that it is the process (the learning, the development of ideas, the working together with others) that is most important and NOT the end result (what the product looks like when it is all finished).

This is a project that the final result may not actually be about how the art looks at the end but how the art and ideas develop and how the children connect with one another along the way.

An adult may need to GUIDE / FACILITATE the groups so that:

  • Every child has a voice in sharing ideas
  • The group can come to a final decision on a theme
  • Each child is clear on what section of the mural is theirs to paint

I organized this activity and worked with three groups of three kids each. It was wonderful to hear their discussions and see them passionately share their ideas. One group agreed to change their theme once they started painting. Quite honestly the end results were not very aesthetic, but the creative process and overall experience were so much fun and memorable!  One group even renamed their mural “Mistakes” when they had trouble with their paint, but they all had smiles on their faces, and that’s what this activity is all about!

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