Luis Paints the World

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten - Grade 4   ·  
  • Reading Level: Grade 3

Luis wishes Nico wasn’t leaving for the Army. To show Nico he doesn’t need to go, Luis begins a mural on the alleyway wall. Their house, the river, the Parque de las Ardillas—it’s the world, all right there. Won’t Nico miss Mami’s sweet flan? What about their baseball games in the street?

But as Luis awaits his brother’s return from duty, his own world expands as well, through swooping paint and the help of their bustling Dominican neighborhood.

Format Your Price
Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 4
Reading Level Grade 3
Genre Fiction, Picture Books
Subject Diversity, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2016
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Books ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2016-04-01
Reading Counts! Level 1.5
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV011030, JUV023000, JUV013070
Dewey [E]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 10.625 x 8.875
Lexile 450
ATOS Reading Level 2.7
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 181163
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Original artwork, and Reviewed


  • Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices, Winner, 2017
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year - Outstanding Merit, Winner, 2017
  • Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction Recommended Book, Commended, 2016


School Library Journal

“The vibrant paintings depicting Luis and his community in attractive tones only add to the feel of the story. . . . A solid addition for most collections, especially in communities with a large armed forces population.”—School Library Journal


“This story is inspired by an art program in Lawrence, Massachusetts, a town of residents from all over the world, who share their stories and traditions through mural art. Its beautiful message will touch the hearts of readers and maybe inspire them to create art of their own.”—Booklist

Publishers Weekly

“In a sensitive story about art and absence, Luis is devastated after his older brother, Nico, enlists in the army, where he will be ‘seeing the world’. . . . To persuade Nico to stay, Luis paints ‘the world’ in the alleyway. . . . Dominguez’s dynamic images reveal how art can bring communities together and provide needed hope.”—Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

“Farish’s restrained story moves at a slow pace, giving readers ample space to grasp the depths of Luis’ sorrow. . . . A wistful snapshot of a young artist and his family.”—Kirkus Reviews

Author: Terry Farish

Terry Farish has been writing about refugees and immigrants for many years, informed by her early work for the Red Cross in Vietnam. She is also the author of Either the Beginning or the End of the World, and she lives in Kittery, Maine.

Illustrator: Oliver Dominguez

Oliver Dominguez was born and raised in Miami. He has illustrated multiple pictures books, including Miracle Mud (2013). He lives in Florida with his wife, two dogs, and a collection of unique hats. Visit him online at