Paint Brushes for Frida
A Children’s Book Inspired By Frida Kahlo
This beautifully imagined tale of artistic struggle and perseverance is inspired by Frida Kahlo’s Self Portrait with Monkeys. Illustrated with paintings that recall Kahlo’s bold, colorful style, it takes readers inside Kahlo’s bedroom, where she typically painted, and shows how the artist brilliantly incorporated the natural world into her work.
Frida is lying in her bed, imprisoned by painful injuries she sustained in an accident. She yearns to paint, but can only manage to sing what is in her imagination. Suddenly, a jar of paintbrushes falls off her nightstand and a pool of vibrant color spreads across the floor. A monkey called Caimito scurries to help her with his friends, gathering her brushes, paint and canvas as well as all the items that Frida mentioned in her song—fruit, birds, flowers, and butterflies. Frida is so happy and grateful for the monkeys’ assistance that she manages to create a new painting, a triumphant self-portrait with Caimito in her arms. The book explores the major themes of Kahlo’s work—physical pain, enduring love, and steadfastness—as well as the symbolism of plants, animals, numbers, and religion, to give young readers a solid foundation for appreciating the artist’s works for the rest of their lives.
Véronique Massenot is the author of numerous writing, picture books and children's stories.
Élise Mansot, is a painter and illustrator living in Lyon, France.