National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month (9-15 to 10-15) Kid Lit Review of “My Papa Diego and Me” by Guadalupe Rivera Martin & Diego Rivera

The author of this charming bilingual memoir is the daughter of one of Mexico’s most famous artists, Diego Rivera. All the illustrations are reproductions of his work. His daughter, quite accomplished in her own right, explains some of the pictures painted by her father (who died in 1957), many of which featured her and her family.

mypapadiegoandme

For example, here is her description of a picture of her childhood friend Ignacio Sanchez:

“Do you see Ignacio’s short hair and his overalls? When I was little, my father liked to keep my hair and my sister’s hair very short, and he dressed us in pants. In fact, we looked a lot like Ignacio Sanchez in this painting.”

Retrato del nino Ignacio Sanchez, 1927

Portrait of Ignacio Sanchez

She explains about the culture of Mexico and family life, again using pictures by her father to illustrate. She speaks of her father’s commitment to justice and equality, integrating history lessons into her own family memories:

“One of my father’s first jobs was to create murals for the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico. He painted this mural in the main building of that institution.

The teacher holds a book in her hand. She is teaching a group of people, young and old, out in the countryside. When I was a girl, the majority of people in Mexico lived out in the country, and they often didn’t have even the basic things they needed to live. These conditions eventually led to the Mexican Revolution, when the people fought to change their government. My father believed in the Revolution, and he taught me to always stand up for my beliefs.”

Diego Rivera, who wrote that “If the artist can’t feel everything that humanity feels, if the artist isn’t capable of loving until he forgets himself and sacrifices himself if necessary, if he won’t put down his magic brush and head the fight against the oppressor, then he isn’t a great artist.”

Diego Rivera, who wrote that “If the artist can’t feel everything that humanity feels, if the artist isn’t capable of loving until he forgets himself and sacrifices himself if necessary, if he won’t put down his magic brush and head the fight against the oppressor, then he isn’t a great artist.”

At the back of the book, there are artwork credits, reproductions of real photos of the author and her family, and short biographies of Dr. Marin and her father.

Evaluation: This warm and informative book is a great way to introduce young children to the many ways in which art serves as a form of communication.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Children’s Book Press, 2009

Note: The author was not the daughter of Frida Kahlo (who was Rivera’s third wife) but rather of Rivera’s second wife, Guadalupe Marin.

Portrait of Guadalupe Marin, 1938

Portrait of Guadalupe Marin, 1938

Frida Kahlo and the author's mother,  Guadalupe Marin, onetime wife of Diego Rivera (not included in the book)

Frida Kahlo and the author’s mother, Guadalupe Marin, onetime wife of Diego Rivera (not included in the book)

Product Details
Reading level: Ages 6 and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
ISBN-10: 0892392282
ISBN-13: 978-0892392285

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6 Responses to National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month (9-15 to 10-15) Kid Lit Review of “My Papa Diego and Me” by Guadalupe Rivera Martin & Diego Rivera

  1. Beth F says:

    How cool that the illustrations are from her father. I bet I’d learn a lot from this.

  2. sandynawrot says:

    That first painting that you showed is simply precious.

  3. You always find such fascinating books.

  4. BermudaOnion says:

    This looks terrific!

  5. Joanna Mojica says:

    Thanks for sharing Chris, As a class we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month , each student does a presentation on a hispanic author and dresses,too. Thanks for sharing such author!

  6. I always learn about great children’s books on your blog! These are such good teaching tools.

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