With a nod to the V & A’s enthralling summer exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s personal artefacts, I’ve chosen to highlight Frida Kahlo by Isabel Sánchez Vegara, one of the most iconic artists in history. My hunch is that of all the artists that kids may engage with, this colourful Mexican, with her flamboyance and drama, is a surefire winner. Aimed at our youngest readers, this charming book works as an accompaniment to an exhibition or a stand-alone introduction to an inspirational character.
Frida Kahlo was born in Mexico. Just by looking at her you could see she was special.
So begins this lively biography. We learn early on that Frida had a fighting spirit, albeit one trapped within a body crippled not only by Polio, but also catastrophic injuries sustained in a bus crash. This blighted the remainder of her life, but also stoked the fire of her creativity. In almost constant pain, Frida expressed her torment and isolation through a series of self-portraits, creating the autobiographical surrealism that would make waves in the 20th century art world.
Frida Kahlo’s life was famously passionate and colourful, and the challenge for author Isabel Sánchez Vegara was how to take the eventful and often traumatic details of her life and condense them into an age-appropriate and interesting read.
This has been admirably achieved. The illustrations are simple and bright and the text conveys the outline of her life while illuminating the essence of Frida.
It’s a clever idea to introduce biography to young children in this vivid, simplified style. So many potential subjects spring to mind, and fans of this book will be thrilled to learn that there’s a whole array of them in print.
Known as ‘Little People, BIG DREAMS,’ this series encompasses such luminaries as Coco Chanel, Ella Fitzgerald, and Marie Curie among others. This particular title, with additional notes and photos at the back, is a sweet tribute to an outstanding woman.
‘Viva la vida,’ said Frida ‘Live life.’
Frida Kahlo by Isabel Sánchez Vegara is published by Lincoln Children’s Books, 32 pages.
Interested in more 5-8 year books? Have a look at Kirstin’s selection here.