I cried the first time I read The Colour of Home by Mary Hoffman a couple of years ago. And I cried again when I decided to have another look at it last week. It’s a heart wrenching story but it ends with a positive message.
The Colour of Home is about Hassan, a young immigrant boy from Somalia, who has just started school in Britain. It’s a total culture shock for him. He doesn’t speak English, he’s not used to the damp cold weather or having classes indoors, he can’t eat lunch as he doesn’t recognize the food, and the country and their new home “seemed all cold and grey.” When the teacher asks him to paint a picture he chooses bright warm colors to depict a scene from his former home in Somalia. Then he paints over it with violent dark splashes and images including a stick figure with a gun and bullets.