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Diego: Bigger Than Life by Carmen T.…

Diego: Bigger Than Life (edition 2009)

by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, David Diaz (Illustrator)

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619194,696 (4)None
Title:Diego: Bigger Than Life
Authors:Carmen T. Bernier-Grand
Other authors:David Diaz (Illustrator)
Info:Amazon Children's Publishing (2009), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 64 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Biography multiculture grade 5-8

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Diego: Bigger Than Life by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand



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I thought this was a great free verse book abut the life of Rivera's life. Again this would be a great book for introducing students to the free verse form of poetry or for teaching students about why people write, and tell stories of other people. ( )
  gmorgan14 | Nov 23, 2016 |
Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor and Author Honor ( )
  scote23 | Mar 30, 2013 |
Diego was an artist and this book tells his life through poems. It showed the good and bad times of his life. I like that it was not written like a biography, in story form. Some of the language was hard to understand but the pictures were really helpful and colorful. It captured the Mexican culture through colors. ( )
  ArielDean | Jan 24, 2013 |
The biography of Diego Rivera. This book can inspire artists and shows the life of a true artist and all his troubles. The words choice in the book can be difficult at times. I like these kinds of books because I got to learn from them. The book is long so I would recommend this to upper elementary. The illustrations in the book are wonderful as well. ( )
  vicmelen | Nov 25, 2012 |
Bernier-Grand, C.T. (2009). Diego: Bigger Than Life. Marshall Cavendish Children.


64 pages

Appetizer: Diego shares the biography of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera through thirty-four(ish) poems. Starting with his birth, the poems follow Rivera's life including a lot of interesting details (like how as a newborn, his pale body was dumped in a dung bucket). The poems also include a lot of Spanish words and draw attention to the beautiful sounds (like "a Mexican town whose name sounds like singing frogs in water: Guanajuato").

I liked that the poems often account for Diego's emotions. It would have been easy to write "he went here...then there...then got married...then went...," but Bernier-Grand dives deep, accounting for Diego's feeling about his role in the Mexican Revolution.

I was also surprised and impressed by how Bernier-Grand politely included the many love affairs Diego had throughout his life.

I also liked that, on occasion, the poems incorporated more than just Diego's voice. From time to time, Frida Kahlo and the Mexican Communist Party also share their perspectives.

This book was one of the honor books for the Belpre award this year (for the text AND the illustrations...do two award honors equal a winner? I think just maybe).
While I completely agree with the choice about the text, personally, the illustrations left me feeling "eeh." I liked their use of color, but I think I would have liked to see more of Rivera's own artwork reflected in more of the illustrations.

I love that a chronology of Diego's life was included at the end. I've read a biography in poems before and found it vaguely confusing because there was no way to ground the beautiful poems in a temporal setting. (I'm looking in your direction, Carver: A life in Poems!) But even if a student is too lazy to read through the chronology, the poems are easy to follow.

Dinner Conversation:

"What is life but a story?
I choose to embellish my life story.

the charming, monstrous,
caring, hideous
Mexican muralist."

"So pale and dead I looked
that the midwife dumped me
in a dung bucket;
then helped my frail mother
give birth to my twin brother"

"I drew on furniture, walls, floors.
I drew pulleys, wheels, gears
in the margins and between the lines
of Papa's best books."

"A French teacher
spoke to me about a world without
rich people or poor people, only equals.
And Father Servin admired the pastel landscapes
I painted under the petroleum lamp.
He told me to be whatever I wanted to be."

"On public walls, I'd start a social revolution.
I'd paint the poetry of the common people,
working, suffering, fighting, seeking joy, living, and dying."

"Seven days a week, eighteen hours a day,
I painted fables of the history and culture of MExico,
my vision of the truth,
hoping people would learn what tomorrow might look like."

To Go with the Meal:

A teacher could also provide historical, ideological and political context for Diego's life and the Mexican Revolution. And aside from going into more depth of Rivera's biography (or that of Frida Kahlo), a teacher could do a lesson on murals and different styles (such as cubism) from around the world or have students design their own mural.

Based on the first poem, "Fabulous Storyteller," students could create their own books, writing poems about their own lives.

Tasty Rating: !!!! ( )
  SJKessel | Jul 10, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carmen T. Bernier-Grandprimary authorall editionscalculated
Diaz, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0761453830, Hardcover)

Carmen T. Bernier-Grand’s inspiring free verse and David Diaz’s vivid paintings capture the defining moments and emotions of Rivera’s tumultuous life, including his stormy relationship with artist Frida Kahlo and his passion for his art. Rivera’s energy, physique, love for women, and work were all "bigger than life." A biography, chronology, glossary, sources, notes, and famous quotations are included.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:46 -0400)

"The life and work of the artist Diego Rivera is told through chronological poems that capture salient points in his life"--Provided by publisher.

(summary from another edition)

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