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As we celebrate beauty and art, naturally we have to highlight the story of Frida. We have featured quite a number of Frida Kahlo picturebook biographies here over the years. See below:
Here is another valuable addition to our ever-growing list.
Written and Illustrated by Laurence Anholt
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (2017)
ISBN: 1847806678 (ISBN13: 9781847806673). Book was borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
I didn’t know about this series on Famous Artists and the children who knew them created by Laurence Anholt until we had our reading theme. I featured Anholt’s Camille and the Sunflowers featuring a young boy’s friendship with Vincent Van Gogh for Nonfiction Wednesday a few days back. And since it is #diversekidlit, I thought I may as well feature Frida Kahlo for my second Anholt story.
What is interesting about this story is that it is perceived primarily from the eyes of a young girl named Mariana whose family is quite close to Frida. This is evident in the paintings done by Frida of practically all of Mariana’s family members – except Mariana herself. She has been warned by her grandmother that she has to sit still for a long period of time, and was told by her big brother that Frida is quite strange and even keeps a skeleton above her bed. This naturally contributed to Mariana’s anxieties and growing apprehension – especially when the time came for her own sitting.
After Mariana overcame her initial trepidation, it was heartening to see the growing intimacy that she shared with Frida, the private jokes they shared, and the meals they ate together in Frida’s colourful home filled with animals.
I like how the formidable artist Frida Kahlo has been humanized even more through Anholt’s story: Frida’s tenderness towards Mariana; how she told her confidences, even those that are not ordinarily told to a young girl; and her thoughtfulness and honesty in the way that she related to a wide-eyed, impressionable child. This will definitely be a lovely addition to your Frida stories.
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