Explore the Surreal Art and Intriguing Life of Frida Kahlo in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Plays, Comics, Picture Books, and Film

22 Apr

I am very excited that on Saturday May 7 Barbara Freiberg will be coming to do a program at the Hoboken Public Library for our library patrons ages 13 and up about one of my favorite artists, Frida Kahlo.  Freiberg will be talking about Kahlo’s interesting life and teaching students to create their own still life drawings based on Kahlo’s style.  Space is limited for the class, but the library has a variety of books, movies, and more that you can check out even if you aren’t able to participate.  Plus you can also join us for a series of Wednesday morning art classes with Liz Cohen.  See our Eventbrite page for more details and to RSVP.


I still remember how excited I was going to see the 2003 film, Frida, directed by Julie Taymor in the theater.  I was captivated by Salma Hayek’s passionate performance as the legendary artist throughout her life.  Check it out at HPL and other BCCLS libraries.

The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo


Image via Popscreen

This documentary directed by Amy Stechler celebrates Kahlo as not only a great artist, but also a strong woman who overcame many obstacles in her personal life and as a Latina.  The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo is narrated by actress Rita Moreno. Mexican-American singer Lila Downs provides the voice of Kahlo.  It includes interviews with Kahlo’s students as part of its special features. Check it out from HPL and other BCCLS libraries.

Frida Kahlo’s Garden, Edited by Adriana Zavala, Mia D’Avanza, and Joanna L. Groarke

If like me, you missed seeing the New York Botanic Garden’s Frida Kahlo exhibit last fall, which included a display of Kahlo paintings and recreated her famed garden and studio at the Casa Azul, in Mexico City, you can still visit in book form with Frida Kahlo’s Garden, which looks at how plants and nature inspired Kahlo through a series of essay, photographs, and illustrations.  Check it out from HPL and other BCCLS libraries.

Beauty is Convulsive: The Passion of Frida Kahlo, by Carole Maso

For a highly original look at Kahlo’s life check out Carole Maso’s prose poem Beauty is Convulsive.  Maso pays particular attention to how Kahlo’s disabilities first from polio as a child and then a tragic bus accident caused her physical pain which she was able to channel into transcendent art.  Check it out from HPL and other BCCLS libraries.

Frida, by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Ana Juan

Frida, a colorful picture book, will charm you and your children.  Winter gives a biographical account of Kahlo’s life illustrated by Juan in a style and with symbols capturing Kahlo’s spirit.  Your own little artist will be inspired.  Check it out from HPL and other BCCLS libraries.

Viva Frida!, by Yuyi Morales

Yuyi Morales’s uses only simple text in Spanish and English, but the lively photographs using dolls and cutouts will ignite your child’s imagination in the picture book, Viva Frida!  Available in print from HPL and on Hoopla as a video picture book.
Frida & Diego: Art, Love, Life, by Catherine Reef

It is impossible to discuss Frida Kahlo without mentioning Diego Rivera, other than art, the greatest love of her life.  Rivera was also a great artist and was well known for his murals, which captured the lives of the average working class Mexican.  Teens will enjoy this biography that looks at both great artist and their passionate and turbulent romance.  It is recommended by School Library Journal for grades 7 and up.  It is available in in the HPL YA department.

Frida Kahlo And Diego Rivera: Their Lives and Ideas, 24 Activities

If you are a homeschooler or simply looking for fun artistic learning activities for your child on a rainy day, check out this Hoopla title that looks at the life and art of Kahlo and Rivera and gives idea for activities like painting self-portraits in Kahlo’s style, making a Day of the Dead ofrenda, and crafting an Olmec head carving.  It will have your kids thinking about art in a new way.

Milestones of Art: Frida Kahlo: Viva Mexico, by Willi Bloess

You can check out a graphic novel adaptation of the life of Kahlo written and illustrated by Willi Bloess on Hoopla.  If you enjoy his work about Frida Kahlo, you can also check out his comic adaptations of other great artists including Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Keith Haring, and Andy Warhol.

La Casa Azul: Inspired by the Writing of Frida Kahlo, by Sophie Faucher, translated by Neil Bartlett

Quebeçois playwright Sophie Faucher not only wrote La Casa Azul, but also played the role of Frida in the early 2000’s.  You can read Faucher’s dramatic interpretation of Kahlo’s life using some of Kahlo’s own thoughts from her diaries and letters on Hoopla.

Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement, by Whitney Chadwick

Although there are more recent works on Surrealism, this continues to be my favorite work about the genre.  It will be of interest for not only its section on Frida Kahlo, but also if you would like to learn about other female surrealist artists who were her contemporaries; two of my other favorites are Leonora Carrington and Leonor Fini.  Available from BCCLS libraries.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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