Book - Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

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A love letter to Frida.

2015 Caldecott Honor Book Winner and recipient of 2015 Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award.

40 pages, hard cover
Dimensions - 26.5cm x 26.5cm x 1cm

School Library Journal Review:

Kahlo's unusual life story, background, and art have made her a frequent topic of biographies. Morales's perception of her creative process results in a fresh, winning take on an artist who has rarely been understood.

The author uses strong verbs to give Kahlo voice: "I see (Veo)"; "Sé (I know)." Kahlo is depicted as a self-possessed woman with a drive to create. Her artistic process has room for others to participate, though—love, imagination, and dreams are closely entangled in her art.

In the illustrations, Diego Rivera is shown creating alongside his wife. While the artistic process seems magical to readers, Kahlo knows what she is searching for.

Each spread has just one or two words on it, both in English and Spanish. The text floats on the page, with the Spanish in a lighter color, adding to the ethereal, dreamlike feel of the book. Morales's art and O'Meara's photographs take this book to another level.

Created with stop-motion puppets, paintings, and digital elements, these are amazing works of art themselves. The puppets are lifelike, resembling Kahlo (with her unibrow) and Rivera accurately. They are surrounded by the animals Kahlo loved, including vibrant feathered parrots, a monkey, and dog.

Throughout the book, Kahlo goes searching for inspiration and finds it all around her. Morales incorporates many of the hallmarks of Kahlo's art into her own. The artist wears silver, open-hand earrings and multicolored dresses. She plays with a skeleton puppet on these pages and imagines herself soaring, freed from her fragile body.

Morales's note in both English and Spanish describes her connection with Kahlo. A resonant title that can be used anywhere Kahlo's art is studied. It will also be admired in bilingual collections.

—Susan E. Murray, formerly at Glendale Public Library, AZ.

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