Nancy's Reviews > The Color of Home

The Color of Home by Mary Hoffman
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Feb 24, 11

bookshelves: middle-eastern

Published: 2002, Dial
Age: 4-8
Hassan is a little boy who has just emigrated from Somalia. He and his family had to leave because of the civil war there. It is his first day of school and everything is cold and gray and different from his homeland. He is very homesick. The students are nice to him but he doesn’t speak the language except for a couple of words. When his teacher gives him paints, he creates a nice picture of his home but then ruins it by splattering red paint and flames over it and smudging his uncle out of the picture. The teacher is sensitive and calls in a Somali interpreter to talk to him. He tells her the horrible things that happened to him and his family in Somalia. Then he paints happy, bright picture for his mother.
This is a story of a child's experience of terror and hope but told sensitively for little children. The author shows how children can express their feelings through art. Combining art therapy with counseling can help children adjust to new situations and learn to heal, although obviously, they would not heal as fast as Hassan did in this story. The beautifully painted illustrations exquisitely show Hassan’s feelings in his facial expressions and through the spacial relation between him and the other students. It also depicts the differences of his homeland vs. America. A very touching story.
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message 1: by Gabrielle (new)

Gabrielle This sounds like an interesting book. I've read other books about the refugee experience and they can come across as trite and simplistic. It sounds like this has the same "tragic refugee" theme, but maybe it doesn't come across as trite. I like the idea of using art to help the boy communicate.


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