During the pandemic, many parents turned to art projects at home to help fill their children’s days. But art isn’t just a convenient pastime. As art therapist Vicky Armstrong notes, “From improving communication and motor skills to helping them develop a sense of self, there are many reasons why art making is valuable to children.”* Engaging in art activities helps children build their social relationships as well as “to think in new ways, and to explore ideas.”**
In Kobi McKenzie’s The Hermits and the Wells, the lackluster hermits move from grumpy isolation to healthy community through their playful experimentation with color. Day after humdrum day, Lue, Ellow, and Ed haul water from their wells through the dreary gray landscape to their dreary gray homes. Then one day their wells splosh up . . . red, blue, and yellow water, and the hermits discover a colorful new world.
Through splashy mixing with the three primary colors, the hermits discover every color under the sun, from green to orange to the muddy brown of squishy puddles. Art transforms not only their surroundings but their lives as the hermits shed their isolation for community. As their physical surroundings blossom with color, their own senses become sharper and more attuned to their environment.
Just like the children reading this book, the hermits discover that engaging with art makes them more creative and whole. As a unique narrative introduction to primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, Kobi’s book both entertains and encourages children to explore their own creativity.
“I want to make color theory accessible and easy to understand,” Kobi says. “In this story’s setting of sharing and forming friendships, I hope to convey the joy of color and also its intrinsic nature of reliability.”
An interactive guide to color theory and suggestions for fun activities accompany the story. Along with Lue, Ellow, and Ed, children (and adults) will love exploring color theory—and learning how art can strengthen both the individual and community.
*Armstrong, Vicky. “Why Creating Art with Your Children Is Important.” Theconversation.com. 18 Feb. 2021. https://theconversation.com/why-creating-art-with-your-children-is-important-155545
**Rymanowicz, Kylie. “The Art of Creating: Why Art Is Important for Early Childhood Development.” Michigan State University MSU Extension. 22 January 2015. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/the_art_of_creating_why_art_is_important_for_early_childhood_development
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kobi McKenzie has worked as a registered nurse, an art teacher for kindergarten to grade eight, a sales associate at Build-A-Bear Workshop, a contractor, and a color consultant in a paint store. She has four wonderful adult children and currently lives on a small farm in rural Kentucky, raising chickens and growing flowers.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Hayleigh Jo Buckler, a student at Morehead State University, is a self-taught artist from Ashland, Kentucky. She especially loves to express her art through colors. An outdoor enthusiast, she also enjoys coding and working out.
Contact Kobi at firstname.lastname@example.org
Connect with Kob on Instagram: @KobiMck