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Last updated Monday, December 18, 2006

Author: Jonah Winter
Illustrator: Ana Juan
Date of Publication: 2002
ISBN: 0590203207
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2007

Synopsis: (From Publishers Weekly) Winter, who brought the Mexican muralist vividly to life in "Diego", focuses on Diego Rivera's bride, Frida Kahlo an accomplished artist in her own right in this striking picture book-biography. 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").

Note to readers:
•  Be sure to read the authors note on the last page before you read to the children.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Looking at the book cover, who do you think Frida is?
•  Looking at the book cover, what do you think Frida does?
•  Have you ever heard of Frida Kahlo?
•  What is imagination? How do you use your imagination?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have you ever visited Mexico? Do you know people who live there or come from there?
•  Stop on each page to look at and discuss the illustrations. What is real? What is imaginary?
•  Frida has an imaginary friend. Do you have an imaginary friend?
•  What kinds of things do you do when youre sick or unhappy to make you feel better?
•  Have you ever looked through a microscope? What did you see? What does Frida see?
•  Are the pictures real, imaginary, or both? Can imaginary pictures sometimes be used to tell a real story?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a colorful picture of your imaginary friend and what you would do together.
•  Draw a colorful picture of what makes you happy.
•  Look at the pictures. The artist gives faces to things that dont normally have them, like the sun and fruit. Draw a picture of something you like that doesnt normally have a face, and then give it a face to show how you think it feels.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!