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Hope's Colors and Homeschooling Hope Review by Amber SmithHope’s Colors:
In a day and age where everything is glossy and perfect, I am grateful for books like Homeschooling Hope and Hope’s Colors,written by Elizabeth Bauman, coauthored and illustrated by her adult daughter Katherine Bauman. These books bring an innocence and inspiration to a child’s reading time.
In these two, large-format, soft-covered picture books, we meet the main character, Hope. She is creative and imaginative and doesn’t quite fit the rigorous classroom culture. Hope likes to color outside of the lines. Sometimes her creative drive causes her crayons to roam freely across the page as she explores the worlds she can create with each color she uses. Hope’s mother decides that homeschooling is the best fit for Hope, and these short books show us how Hope began to flourish and grow in her new learning environment. The Hope stories show a reader how important it is to explore, create, and imagine while you are learning.
In the book Hope’s Colors the author writes, “Green can be seen in the fresh new vine, Hope imagines herself growing tall like a sunflower, reaching upwards in God’s garden.”
In Katherine’s relatable youthful hand drawings, we see Hope growing taller and taller into a lovely young woman. Even though Hope colors outside of the lines, through creativity she finds her own gift in drawing. The book concludes with these wise words:“. . . and at the end the teacher could see Hope does not have to be exactly like you or completely like me.”
Homeschooling Hope, likewise, shared the many activities children who are homeschooled can enjoy. Hope’s schedule is packed with activities, but there are enough examples for every child to be able to identify themselves in the pages of this book. Often the books we read and borrow represent children in a school setting for their learning. My kids liked seeing a child learning the way they were; at home; at the zoo, museum, co-op; or at the park for a field study. Hope was learning in many places, just like we do.
The Hope books are sweetly illustrated by Katherine Bauman—an award-winning artist and instructor of free drawing workshops for children in her community. This book is not only easy to connect to, but they are inspiring for any young artist who can identify with Hope’s struggle between being creative and following instructions. This book sweetly acknowledges and affirms Hope’s need to be creative even when her creativity was different from what her classmates chose.
My own daughters—who are seven, nine, and eleven—were inspired to create their own stories after reading about Hope. Seeing an illustrator’s work like Katherine Bauman’s made them believe that creating a book can be possible because they each have an inspiring story of their own to tell.
The Bauman family has dedicated the Hope books to children in the autism spectrum and are donating a portion of the proceeds from every sale to Autism Speaks. Adding Homeschooling Hope and Hope’s Colors to your library is a meaningful addition for your homeschool and to families beyond your own doors.
-Product review by Amber Smith, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2017