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Diego: Bigger Than Life

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  141 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Carmen T. Bernier-Grand's inspiring free verse and David Diaz's vivid paintings capture the defining moments and emotions of Diego 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, ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Amazon Publishing
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Community Reviews

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Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Are we supposed to admire Diego Rivera? Or is this a cautionary tale?
Through free-verse poems and colorful illustrations, the life of Diego Rivera is shared, from birth to death. Rivera was a Mexican artist, famous for fighting for social justice through his mural paintings of common, working people. Each poem, told through the eyes of the Rivera, explores a moment in the artist’s life, which includes his accomplishments and indiscretions. The illustrations which illuminate with a light around the characters exhibit the energy and power of the Mexican culture and ...more
This book tells the poetic life of Mexican artist Diego Rivera. While the verses paint an almost rosy picture, the final pages of the book include "The True Life of Diego Rivera," " Glossary," "Chronology," and quotes "In His Own Words." As is the case with many artists, Rivera had a tumultuous life as he worked to find his own style. By far, the best parts in the book are where Rivera's actual pieces are mixed in! This book would be a great read aloud for older grade (especially high school) du ...more
Lorena Magallanes
Carmen T Berlier-Grands book, entitled Diego: Bigger Than Life is a poetic biography. Diego is filled with free verses, each one on a different aspect of Diego's life. The contents page, helps to navigate the book, starting at Diego's early life until his death on November 24, 1957.

Each poem is accompanied with art done by Caldeocott winner, David Diaz, with the exception of a few poems who were painted by Diego Rivera himself. Diaz' art is filled with colors, and while the images are not very i
Emma Hoyer
Normally, when I have the chance to read poetry, I do not get to have a grouping of poetry that makes chronological sense. This book was a special treat, and the illustrations add to deciphering the meaning of the poetry. There are subtle details that are hinted at by the illustrations and the titles. The words are crafted and formatted beautiful, and I’m very impressed by this collections of poems as a whole (to the point where I’m going to buy this book!). This is a book that would work well t ...more
In this companion to Frida: Viva La Vida! Long Live Life! 34 free-verse poems chronicle the life of Diego Rivera, Mexican painter of frescos, lover of Frida Kahlo, revolutionary in his principles, and in his art which arose from his love of Mexico and especially the indigenous peoples. David Diaz seems the perfect choice for illustrations, matching his technique to Bernier-Grand's description of Rivera's art: "As naturally as I breathe,/ I painted in grand scale the colors of Mexico/ clearer, r ...more
Bernier-Grand, Carmen T. Diego: bigger than life. illus. by David Diaz. Marshall Cavendish. Trade. ISBN : 978-0-7614-5383-3. $18.99 64p. Glossary, timeline, bibliography, notes, illustrations“In His Own Words.” (Middle School) 5 stars.

Diego Rivera was best known for his large murals, member of the Mexican Communist Party and storyteller; often making it difficult for biographers and historians to discern some of the real truths of his life. Rivera was educated in Mexico during his childhood and
Ally Copper
"Diego: Bigger Than Life" by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand uses free verse poetry to tell the life story of Mexican artist Diego Rivera. In short, it is a fascinating portrayal of a fascinating life. It captures Rivera's huge personality and appetites (for food, women, and art). It captures his frustrations with his home country and with himself. It also captures the idea that Diego Rivera was not a saint but rather a real person who made both good and bad decisions. This book provides an enchanting a ...more
Diego Rivera (1886-1957) was indeed larger than life. His passion for life, love, and art drove him toward success. A brilliant and hugely (literally) talented man, his passions often led to controversy and tumultuous relationships. He is most famous for his large murals in Mexico and the United States depicting the history and plight of the working-class people. He is also well known for his fiery love affairs, especially with Frida Kahlo, to whom he was married twice.

Carmen T. Bernier-Grand’s
Catherine Woodman
THere are several things that I loved about this book--the first is the illustrations--my only complaint is that there is not enough of Rivera's mural work, in particular his history of native Indian populations in Mexico (and I thought it would fit beautifully into the section about him being given to his Indian wet nurse after his twin died and his mother appeared to suffer from depression as a result). THe ones that are included int he volume are well produced, and more would have been gorgeo ...more
Diana Luna
They say live your life in a unique way and leave your legacy behind. That is exactly what Diego Rivera did. In this book, author Carmen Bernier Grand tells the life story of artist Diego Rivera in sixty four pages of text and illustrations. This is no ordinary structure, Diego’s story is told by the creation of several short poems. Each poem is titled with a major event or subject that took place in Diego’s life. From the day Diego was born to the day he passed away, the book continues to tell ...more
Audience – A good audience for this book would be middle to lower high school because poetry can be tricky to understand. Also some of these poems talk about death and other difficult times in life.

Appeal – The appeal of this book is that it tells the biography of an authors life through free verse poems and all the beautiful illustrations. It is also a book a student could pick up and flip to anypage just to read one or two poems without having to read the entire book.

Application – I would use
Main Character: Diego Rivera
Setting: Various (past)
POV: First person
Grade Level: 4th and higher
This is a children’s book that chronicles the life of artist Diego Rivera. It is very honest in its delivery because it depicts the tumultuous relationship between Rivera and Frida Kahlo, his wife. He is depicted as a very passionate artist who loves each piece of art that he produced. Riveras family are introduced early in the book. There is also a discussion of his infidelity, his socialist b
Teresa Scherping
From his tenacious survival as a sickly baby to the controversial murals that were his greatest artistic achievements, Diego Rivera always defied expectations. He hated Mexico's oppressive dictator and yet accepted an art scholarship financed by that very government. He painted murals for the common people to see, depicting the beauty and dignity of the working class, but the Mexican Communist Party rejected him for accepting work from anti-communist regimes. He loved many women during his life, ...more
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 lik
L13F_Jana Wilkening
After reading, Frida: Viva La Vida!, I was excited to read this book by the same author. This 2010 America’s Award Commended book follows a similar format in that it uses biographical poetry to tell the story of Frida’s husband, artist Diego Rivera. Along with the biographical poems are photographs and colorful illustrations, some of which are by Rivera. It showed me another side to Diego that I had not seen from only reading Frida’s version. This book would be an amazing resource for grades 7-1 ...more
May 12, 2011 Q_joanneknowles rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: High School Students
Shelves: info-bios
Diego is the story of the life of Diego Rivera. Like 'Cesar: Si, Se Puede!', it is told through poetry; however, Diego goes much more in depth than 'Cesar: Si, Se Puede!.' I thought the illustrations in both books were kind of monotonous and looked too computer-generated, like clip-art. I did like that in Diego, Bernier used some of his original work. Diego goes very in-depth into the subject's political beliefs and politics of the time, so I think it would be suitable for high school students. ...more
Written in free verse and vibrantly illustrated based on Ancient Aztec style and color, Diego: Bigger Than Life captures the grand (in both physical size and creative influence) life of artist Diego Rivera. Reflecting both Rivera’s life experiences, as well as occasional snippets of Rivera’s actual work, this biography combines and perfectly unites the narrative and illustrations to tell one, succinct story. Included at the end of the book, which takes us through the childhood, emerging adulthoo ...more
Marc Noday
Diego, Bigger Than Life was enjoyable because of its connection to history. I like how it included a background of the artist along with a glossary, notes, and quotes from the artist. The way all of these items come together to create the background and story was a unique way to portray the artist.
It’s hard to imagine how a cradle-to-grave presentation could be more vigorous, compassionate, revealing and humorous than Carmen T. Bernier-Grand’s Diego: Bigger Than Life. Through evocative free verse, readers learn about the king-sized Rivera’s life from a childhood marked by tragedy and exceptional gifts to his death shortly after the passing of the love of his tempestuous life, Frida Kahlo. In glowing stylized portraits that compliment each first-person poem, David Diaz evokes the Aztec ima ...more
Alondra Munoz
I overall liked this book because it is like a biography of Diego Rivera but with pictures and not a long and boring article. I learned a lot about Diego Rivera by reading this book he had an interesting life and many wives
April Helms
This book on Diego Riveras, well-known artist, is told through colorful illustrations and free verse, a series of chronological poems. The illustrations are colorful, stencil-like, almost abstract at times. It also includes a synopsis of Diego's life, childhood, his various relationships (including with fellow artist Frida Kahlo) and his art. An excellent book for the older "reluctant reader." I would save this for older grade school (at least fifth grade) and middle school. Diego's poetic "voic ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This biography in poems left me wanting to read more about Diego Rivera, the Mexican painter. The author provides additional biographical information for clarification of some of her poems at the end of the book, however, and a list of sources of further information. I must read his autobiography! I had no idea he was such a revolutionary. Normally I don't like David Diaz's illustrations, but this time he did it just right. Also included are some (not enough!) of Rivera's own paintings. This boo ...more
Diego: Bigger than Life tells the story of Mexican artist Diego Rivera through a series of poems and illustrations. The entirety of his life is illustrated in the poems from birth to death. I loved that the poems conveyed all the emotion and actual situations of each subject. I feel like I learned all about Diego Rivera through these few poems. Everything from his upbringing, to his art to his many wives and mistresses were covered. I really enjoyed the illustrations as well, but I do wish that ...more
Q_michelene Haggard
Biography of Diego Rivera written in free verse poetry. Includes useful Glossary, Chronology, Sources, Notes and "In His Own Words" at the end of the book. Best for high school. Good to show students that picture books are not only for small children. Quick-read format for a biography. Also good for differentiation - for a lower level reader, the poetry with illustrations might be a more accessible biography format than a traditional novel biography.

Painting Lenin in his mural in NYC shows Rive
Oct 03, 2014 Hannah added it
Shelves: dark, deep, cultural, aztec, mexico
I like how this poetry connects to non-fiction.
Rebecca Abrams
Grade: 3-7
This book has the Pura Belpre Award

This is a biography of Diego Rivera a talented artist. Written in prose this story tell of the life of Diego as an artist who is from Mexico and travelled to europe to study. The book has short stories about Diego's life that I think are interesting and will really capture the attention of upper elementary school students. However the story is very deep and some kids may not understand the whole story. The book also includes some pictures of Diego's w
Q_Jill Burke
This book is a collection of free-verse poems about the life of Diego Rivera. He was a painter and revolutionary who painted the common people. His work was controversial because he wanted justice for people living under communist rule. In his murals are hidden messages for a social revolution. He was "bigger than life" living as he wanted. This book would be ideal for an older student. It would be great to study how politics and a passion for change can influence art.
No matter how many biographies I read about Diego Rivera, I am constantly amazed by this man and his life. He seemed to have grabbed life with both hands to squeeze out every ounce of emotion and then painted it.

The illustrations are gorgeous and I appreciated the few photographs that were included.

A section that stood out was:

"A million public walls
wouldn't be enough
to paint all the beauty of Mexico."
Jun 17, 2012 Jen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: pb
wow. I was trying to think through ahead of time how someone might portray Diego Rivera to children. This does a perfect job of explaining everything! and with interesting illustrations to boot. I really enjoyed this portrait of Diego and see how it could be used to help a child write their own biography if they wanted, with little vignette's in order.
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Carmen T. Bernier-Grand is a national award winning author of eleven books for children and young adults. She teaches writing at the Whidbey Island MFA, a program of Northwest Literary Arts, at Writers in the Schools, a program of Oregon Literary Arts, and at Wordstock.

In 2008, The Oregon Library Association's Children's Division gave her the Evelyn Lampman Award for her significant contribution t
More about Carmen T. Bernier-Grand...
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