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Frida

Written by Jonah Winter

Illustrated by Ana Juan


A long-awaited companion to the award-winning Diego.

Eleven years ago, Jonah Winter found a simple, poetic way to tell young readers about Diego Rivera, the great Mexican muralist. Now with that same sensitivity and grace he introduces the incomparable Frida Kahlo.

With a spare, light touch, Winter talks about the people and events that influenced Frida’s development as a young artist; how drawing kept her from being bored during a childhood illness; how her father the photographer, taught her to paint on top of photos; and how painting helped her survive a terrible accident and cope with its aftermath. Most importantly, Frida is the tale of a person who, throughout her life, used her talent to transform sadness into art.

We’re excited to introduce the remarkable Ana Juan, the perfect visual interpreter of this complex character. In Juan’s hands, the characters of Mexican folk art literally come to life as Frida’s constant companions. We are shown the events of Frida’s life, as if through her own imagination – vibrant, surprising and beautiful.

This is a book that is invaluable not only as an introduction to one of the world’s great artists, but as a testament to the power of art to heal.


Reviews and Awards

ALA Notable Book
Américas Award Honor Book
Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Show selection
Parenting Magazine Best Book of 2002
2002 Parents’ Choice Gold Award (includes both English and Spanish texts) 
National Association of Parenting Publications Gold Award

⋆ “With a spare narrative more akin to poetry than prose, the author touches on important events in his subject's childhood - Frida's loneliness and the polio that kept her bedridden for months, as well as a bus accident, at age 18, that nearly killed her. He then shows how, each time, art helped her to transcend her injuries ("She turns her pain into something beautiful") and to unleash her magically surreal vision of the world in paintings ("In museums, people still look at them and weep and sigh and smile"). Juan, a Spanish fine artist and New Yorker cover artist making her children's book debut, creates artwork bursting with saturated color and infused with Mexican folk art motifs that also influenced Frida's own style.... An outstanding introduction to an influential artist.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Jonah Winter's Frida, an imaginative treatment of the life of Frida Kahlo... is a quietly lyrical encounter with a particular artistic spirit, emphasizing not the traditional measures of achievement but the more personal experiences and impulses that could also drive any reader of the book. Winter... writes sparely yet evocatively in the present tense, describing Kahlo's youth ("Enter, stage left: Frida's imaginary friend. Her name is also Frida"), her constant struggle with pain and disability ("Instead of crying, she paints pictures of herself crying"), and her poignant, individual art. Kahlo's dramatic life makes the narrative compelling even to an audience that knows nothing of her artistic significance: the determined young girl leads a life of suffering that only sharpens her hunger to see and to paint. Since painting was Kahlo's real language, the visuals here are all-important; fortunately, they rise to the challenge. The text, in delicate, spidery type, appropriately adapts itself to the illustrations, settling onto the backs of photographs, fluttering across curtains, tucking itself into a corner behind Frida's nightstand, hovering through the pages as part design, part information. Juan's note explains that she was inspired by Mexican folk art as well as Kahlo's work in creating her acrylic illustrations, and they've got a slightly softened, wide-eyed air that gives them their own mood rather than being merely imitative of Kahlo.... The book will doubtless prompt some young people to go on to more orthodox appreciations of Frida Kahlo, but it's also a reminder, in both its treatment and its subject matter, of the utility and possibilities of art. Also suitable as a readaloud for creative youngsters (which is pretty much a redundancy), this will lure dreamers with its serenely fantastical view and invite them to dream their own artistry.” - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, “Big Picture” cover review

“Written in the present tense, the story has immediacy, and the magnificent full-page acrylic illustrations cry out with emotion, as is befitting the work of a passionate artist… A bold, successful attempt at incorporating the feel of the artist’s own style into an explanation of her life.” - School Library Journal

“Winter consistently manages to convey much with a few well-chosen words, and the illustrations are appropriately awash with traditional Mexican folk-art motifs and characters. Especially pleasing are Juan’s surreal, Kahlo-like touches. In the book’s final image of Kahlo, one of the black birds swirling overhead has settled on her face, its wings her famously linked eyebrows.” – The Horn Book

“’Frida’ shows us a girl who finds a way to be happy despite great difficulty, and becomes a woman whose art touches people around the world. In the hands of Jonah Winter and Ana Juan, this seems a grand accomplishment, worth celebrating.” – New York Times Book Review 


Purchase Options
Indiebound  Scholastic • Amazon • Barnes & Noble


Spring 2002
Non-fiction Picture Book
ISBN: 0-590-20320-7
Price: $16.95/$22.99
Trim Size: 11" x 9 1/2"
Page Count: 32
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes


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