Signs of Hope

Signs of Hope, the Revolutionary Art of Sister Corita Kent presents readers with the life and art of nun, teacher and artist Sister Corita Kent. Written from the perspective of one of her many students, this vibrant picture book biography depicts the lessons Sister Corita taught about art and the world around us, encouraging her students to see “what everyone else sees, but doesn’t see.” Sister Corita taught the art of the ordinary, found in street signs, billboards and signs at the grocery store. To her, these things are art! 

From her messy and exciting classroom, Sister Corita encourages her students to think outside the box when drawing. With Sister Corita, there is no right or wrong way: There is just art. Always calm and busy, she gathers words clipped from magazines, excited to see what these words might be arranged to say. With her bold works, Sister Corita both celebrates and marches for peace and justice during the anti-Vietnam war movement, and the world begins to notice this “revolutionary nun.”

Mara Rockliff’s text is clever and thoughtful. Caldecott Honor recipient Melissa Sweet uses watercolor, collage and mixed media in colorful artwork that is bold and richly layered, taking inspiration from Sister Corita’s own pop art. Quotes from Sister Corita and quotes she herself found inspiring are interspersed among the illustrations. As this book culminates, the student narrator charges us all to share what we have learned with others. With this final appeal, the handwritten quotes transition to words from Sister Corita’s former students: “She didn’t teach us how to draw or paint so much as she taught us to care.”

Together, writer and artist have created a beautiful book reminding us all “to make art all our lives and to make our lives ART,” just as Sister Corita taught. Signs of Hope is a dynamic and inspiring book for art lovers everywhere.

Literature

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