Coco Chanel & Frida Kahlo: Little People Big Dreams

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Little People, Big Dreams Coco Chanel
Little People, Big Dreams Frida Kahlo
Ma. Isabel Sánchez Vegara and Ana Albero, translated by Emma Martinez
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Delightfully different are these stylish picture book biographies for young readers, and both feature young women – girls when we first meet them – who themselves were different and proud to be so.
When we first encounter Coco Chanel, she’s called Gabrielle and lives in an orphanage. where the nuns there are far from happy about her unusual behaviour as they deem it, …

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Even at an early age, Gabrielle liked to spend time sewing rather than playing with the other girls and when she grew up, the young miss sewed during the daytime and sang at night. It was then people began calling her Coco.
Then one day Coco makes a hat for a friend, a hat quite out of the ordinary and thus begins her new career as a designer of hats.

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Before long though her flair for design leads her to create stylish clothes that not only looked different but felt different: they were comfortable to wear. Not everyone took to them straight away but gradually women realised that stylish needn’t mean stiff and sparkly:

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Coco Chanel had begun to make her mark on the fashion world and would continue to be remembered as a great designer and style icon even to this day.

Right from the start as a young girl in Mexico, Frida Kahlo stood out from the crowd. But it wasn’t until she was involved in a terrible road accident that Frida’s life really changed. Following the accident, she spent a lot of time in bed and to pass the time she’d draw pictures of first, her foot and then by using a mirror, entire self-portraits.


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Gradually she amassed a whole portfolio and decided to visit the famous artist, Diego Rivera. It wasn’t only her pictures that impressed him however, and eventually the two were married.

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Encouraged by her partner, Frida continued painting self-portraits, her pictures reflecting how she felt at the time and a show was organised of her work in New York City. Sadly though, Frida’s health continued to decline but despite this, she carried on painting to the end: her passion for life and for painting never left her. It wasn’t until after her death however, that the painter truly won fame as an international artist whose work is characterised by vivid colours and Mexican symbols.
Truly inspirational are these two women who have both left a lasting mark on the world and made it a better place for us all; and all because they dared to be different and let nothing or no one stand in the way of their dreams.
Both books have a time line at the end as well as additional facts and a brief list of further reading suggestions and museums where their work can be seen.
Definitely worth investing in for KS1 and lower KS2 classrooms and just the thing to help celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March.

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