Cover image for The color of home
The color of home
Hoffman, Mary, 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Phyllis Fogelman Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Hassan, newly-arrived in the United States and feeling homesick, paints a picture at school that shows his old home in Somalia as well as the reason his family had to leave.
General Note:
Originally published: Great Britain : F. Lincoln, c2002.
Reading Level:
540 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 59605.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.4 2 Quiz: 33662 Guided reading level: N.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



This remarkably moving picture book follows first-grader Hassan through his first few days at school. Hassan has only recently arrived in the United States after he and his family were forced to flee Somalia, and he deeply misses the colorful landscape of his former home in Africa. But with the help of his parents, an understanding teacher, and a school art project, Hassan finds that by painting a picture of his old home and sharing his story, his homesickness and the trauma of leaving a war-torn country are lessened. And he finds that there are many things to like about his new home in America. The colorful, impressionistic illustrations are a perfect complement to the wonderful text by Mary Hoffman, author of the highly acclaimed Amazing Grace. Together art and text make this poignant story accessible and affecting for a young audience.

Author Notes

Children's author and reviewer Mary Hoffman was born in 1945. She attended Newnham College to study English literature and University College London to study linguistics. She started writing in 1970 and has written about eighty children's books including the picture book Amazing Grace, the Stravaganza series, and the anti-war anthology Lines in the Sand. She is also the editor of the children's book review magazine Armadillo, which comes out four times a year.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

PreS^-Gr. 3. The author of the popular picture book Amazing Grace (1991) tells another moving story here of an immigrant kid in the classroom. Hassan's Muslim family was driven from their home in Somalia by the violent civil war. On his first day of school in America, everything looks gray and strange and he can'st speak English. Then in art class he paints a picture of the happy home he remembers before the soldiers came to his village. When he paints a second picture of the nightmares that haunt him--the flames and bullets that killed his uncle and drove his family out--his teacher brings a Somali interpreter to translate for him, and he tells her his refugee story. Littlewood's beautiful impressionistic watercolor paintings reveal the child's memories of his African village: the warmth and light and then the terror. After that there's the flight, and the pictures do a great job of expressing Hassan's sense of dislocation in a gray, unfamiliar place, until, finally, he sees the bright colors of his school and his new home. --Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Hassan, a recent immigrant from Somalia, is homesick on his first day of school in America. Though the teacher is nice and the children are friendly, adjusting to a new culture, especially a different language, is a struggle. When the teacher distributes art supplies, Hassan discovers a way to communicate. He paints two pictures- one to share the story of his life in Somalia, and another that depicts his hope for a bright future in his new home. Readers gain a realistic child's perspective on what it is like to be forced to emigrate from a war-torn country. The sensitively told story also demonstrates the value of art therapy in helping children to make the transition to a new environment. Littlewood's impressionistic watercolor illustrations, many of them spreads, beautifully convey Hassan's sadness, fear, and ultimate happiness. A title that will spark classroom discussion.-Ajokei T. I. Kokodoko, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.