#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Frida Kahlo’s Imaginary Friend

"... I would run with my secret and my joy to the farthest corner of the patio of my house..." - Frida Kahlo

Myra here.

We are delighted to dedicate our Wednesdays to featuring nonfiction titles, as per usual.

This year, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized

The Two Fridas (Amazon | Book Depository)

Memories Written by Frida Kahlo Illustrated by Gianluca Foli
Published by: Schiffer Kids (2021) ISBN: 9780764361166 (ISBN10: 0764361163) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

I am a bonafide FridaKahlo-phile, if there is even such a word. I devour everything connected to Frida: from her self-portraits to picturebook biographies to notebooks – I have yet to get a Frida-themed bag or a scarf, but it really is just a matter of time when this will happen. And so, I was delighted to find another contribution to the ever-growing picturebook biographies written about Frida (see some of my reviews here and here). Unlike the other picturebook biographies I have already featured, this one zeroes in on the other Frida that started to appear when she was around six years old – roughly the same time when Frida suffered from an illness that affected her right leg.

I have always been struck by Frida’s confinement – as brought about by physical infirmity or the intensity of her emotions, and how she constantly liberated and reinvented herself through words and art. I loved reading her actual words in this picturebook, as she vividly described her imaginary friend that kept her company and comforted her and brought her to fantastical worlds through her mind’s eye.

It was a secret that she nurtured and kept within her and wrote about in the pages of her journal; and I was struck by her joy and delight in being able to call the other Frida at will through this magical door that took her far, far away from where she was.

Gianluca Foli’s art is incredible – done with restraint and lots of white spaces for the eye to rest. There is a tendency to go overboard with almost a kind of sensory overload in the usual art done as a tribute to Kahlo, but I admired the blank spaces here signifying the vacuum within Frida that needed to be filled by this imaginary friend’s presence – and how enriched her life and ours now happen to be because of this.

#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 95 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

0 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Frida Kahlo’s Imaginary Friend

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: