Tuesday, November 18, 2014

30 Days of Diverse Picture Books - Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

It's Day 18 of our 30 Days of Diverse Picture Books. I'm often asked where I find so many great diverse titles to share. The truth is, they are out there but it sometimes takes a little bit of digging to find them! I have an advantage, being that I get paid to spend 40 hours a week working for the library (pinch me!). But I have begun to compile a list of recommended resources -- still a work in progress, so check back often.

Tonight's title is by the incredible artist Yuyi Morales: Viva Frida, a picture book homage to the artist Frida Kahlo. When this book arrived at my library, we really wrestled with where to put it, as it's an unusual take on a biography. We ended up putting it in the picture book section because frankly it's absolutely brilliant and I wanted it to get the widest audience it could, not be buried in biography. So there.

Morales's artwork is on full display here as she pays tribute to Frida Kahlo's life and work. There's an appearance by Diego Rivera, her self-portraits, her mystical realism, all of it. And the arresting imagery is accompanied by snippets of poetry that speak volumes. The final spread merely reads, "Vivo - I live!", but that's all the text that's needed, as Morales's image of Frida surrounded by animals and light and wearing vibrant clothing captures the essence of the artist entirely. It's a tremendous title, and would be the perfect starting place for an art unit inspired by Frida Kahlo's work. (An afterword fills in more details about Frida Kahlo's life.)

Pair Viva Frida with other art-infused picture books like Georgia's Bones or Vincent's Colors for an exploration of life, art and the world at large.

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales, published by Roaring Brook Press

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