The Colour of Home by Mary Hoffman

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Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK.


The Colour of Home by Mary Hoffman

Hassan feels out of place in a new cold, grey country. At school, he paints a picture showing his colourful Somalian home, covered with the harsh colours of war from which his family has fled. He tells his teacher about their voyage from Mogadishu to Mombasa, then to the refugee camp and on to England. But gradually things change. When Hassan's parents put up his next picture on the wall, Hassan notices the maroon prayer mat, a bright green cushion and his sister Naima's pink dress - the new colours of home.


This is a warm, ultimately hopeful story about the world of a refugee child, and the compassion and understanding shown to him by his teachers and schoolmates. The Ultimate First Book Guide

This book was published three years ago in 2002, but it is quite simply a masterpiece of the picture-book form and cannot be recommended too often or too highly. Mary Hoffman's beautiful and sensitively told story concerns Hassan from Somalia, whose very real tale is trapped inside him with no way to be let out. The manner in which a picture has to be done in class and the revelations it causes is heartrending. Be warned, experience the book alone first before sharing it with youngsters. Many teachers and librarians have found themselves reduced to tears when first meeting the words and pictures here. Boys into Books 5-11 Riveting Reads

A thoughtful text and pictures which show the contrasts in his life vividly trace Hassan's journey towards integration as he gradually leaves behind the violence he has escaped from and begins to embrace his new world. Book Ahead 0-7

About the Author

Mary Hoffman

Mary Hoffman has written around 90 books for children. Amazing Grace, commended for the Kate Greenaway medal, has sold over 1.5 million copies. Its sequel, Grace & Family, was among Junior Education 's Best Books of 1995 and shortlisted for the Sheffield Libraries Book Award 1996. Mary lives in Oxfordshire.

You can read her contributions to The History Girls blog by clicking here.

Mary Hoffman's Ten Things You Didn't Know About Me:

I didn't change my surname when I got married.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a garage mechanic.

My husband is half-Indian. His mother was a Parsee, born in Bangalore.

I am learning Italian and would love to have a house in Italy.

I never wear or own anything blue.

Photo by Jess Barber (©Jess Barber)

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Book Info


32 pages
Interest Age: From 6


Mary Hoffman
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Frances Lincoln Childrens Books an imprint of Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd

Publication date

1st March 2003




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