Saturday, 30 July 2016

Little People Big Dreams

The Little People Big Dreams series is published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books.

Written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and translated into English by Emma Martinez, this biographical series featuring iconic women for young readers is set to capture our hearts and imaginations big time.

Starting with Coco Chanel and Frida Kahlo earlier this year, we can look forward to seeing Amelia Earhart and Maya Angelou (written by US author Lisbeth Kaiser writing her first children's book) next month and Agatha Christie and Marie Curie early next year.

I see on Goodreads that Vegara also has a Spanish edition of Audrey Hepburn that I hope we see translated into English very soon.

Vegara is from Barcelona. According to the Quarto webpage, she aims to "combine creativity with learning, aiming to establish a new and fresh relationship between children and pop culture."

Coco Chanel is illustrated by Ana Albero. She grew up in Spain, studied art in Paris and is now based in Berlin. Using graphite and coloured pencils, Albero's illustrations reflect her graphic art experience with Biografiktion, which features comic-style stories about real people. (One of her previous projects was on Abba - I would love to see a Little People, Big Dreams treatment about that!)

Having read many, many bio's on Chanel over the years, I can tell you that her story here has been romanticised and sanitized to suit its intended young audience. Something that Chanel, the mistress of reinterpretation, would approve of wholeheartedly.

The moral of Chanel's story is that being different is okay.

Frida Kahlo is illustrated by Gee Fan Eng, a Malaysian based illustrator.

Difference, or 'specialness' is one of the main themes again, although Kahlo's courage and determination is also stressed. Her ability to overcome and persevere against such extreme adversity is one of the truly inspirational elements to her story. As Kahlo was famous for saying, 'viva lavida' - live life!

Thanks to an exhibition currently on display at the Art Gallery of NSW, the Frida book has been spotted everywhere.

(My post about my visit to the Kahlo - Rivera exhibition is here).

We have had a copy in our window display at work for over a month now.

I love hearing young kids walk by and exclaim loudly to their slightly bemused parents, "that's Frida Kahlo!"

As someone who happily courted and collaborated in projecting a very specific image of herself out into the world, I'm sure Kahlo would be delighted to see the cult of Frida (Los Fridos) continues through a new generation of devotees on the other side of the world.

Both books contain a timeline at the back to give the young reader a little more detail.

Thanks to the research I did for this post, I am now following several new illustrators on Instagram.


  1. Aren't they gorgeous? I will look out for the Chanel title and Marie Curie. Actually and probably Audrey Hepburn. I don't think that I knew that Chanel sang.

    1. Depending on the bio you read, the singing part could be referred to as "singing" nudge, nudge, wink, wink. A girl had to earn a living anyway she could!


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