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Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  97 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Diego Rivera offers young readers unique insight into the life and artwork of the famous Mexican painter and muralist. The book follows Rivera’s career, looking at his influences and tracing the evolution of his style. His work often called attention to the culture and struggles of the Mexican working class. Believing that art should be for the people, he created public mu ...more
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Harry N. Abrams
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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 ·  97 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15th to October 15th. How many folks could tell you that off the top of their heads? Meanwhile, few awards are specifically earmarked for nonfiction books for children with Latino themes. There have, however, been quite a few articles in the popular news about the lack of books for children with Hispanic characters in them. So what about biographies of famous Hispanics? Surely those must be abundant in some way. The funny thing is that you can ...more
Filled with sumptous samples of the famous Mexican artist's work, this book is an excellent introduction to a man whose painting evolved over the course of his lifetime. Young readers will be intrigued to learn about the influences on his art as well as how controversial some of it was considered. Diego Rivera was a man with a zest of life, imperfect in many ways, but clearly a genius and a visionary. Unlike many of his artistic predecessors who chose to paint wealthy clients and to paint for a ...more
Diego Rivera is one of those larger than life kind of people so had to be interesting to research and write about. I enjoyed reading about him. He is one of those people who seemed so completely consumed by his talent. He was also more than a little attracted to the ladies. I wondered how that would be discussed in a children's book. Since that was a significant factor in his life, I am glad that it wasn't ignored. The writing was clear and written well for middle grade readers. I especially lik ...more
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had heard the name Diego Rivera, but knew nothing about him and his work before reading this book. This is a terrific introduction to his life and to the art he created. He wanted to be an artist from a very early age and even though he had training in Europe, his heart was always with his native Mexico and his paintings reflect this. He painted murals with the common people in mind. Rivera's personal life was very complicated, as he had relationships with several women over the years, most no ...more
Quinn Rollins
One of the subjects I feel like I'm weakest on is art. I never took any art classes in school--not even the rudimentary drawing classes I probably should have had in middle school. I wish I had. But I didn't. So I got some art in my AP History classes, and...well, I guess that's it. So when I picked up the book Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People, I felt a little overwhelmed, but also excited to read it. Maybe I'd actually learn something.

Susan Goldman Rubin's biography of Diego Rivera is in
Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
When one considers mural paintings one may first think of fresco paintings done by masters in Italy, however a more recent example of this art form can be found across North and South America by artist Diego Rivera. Diego Rivera, a famous Mexican muralist, whom is best known for the murals he created within the public space, proves a viable subject for study of both art and history. On a recent trip to my local library I came across Diego Rivera an artist for the people by Susan Goldman Rubin an ...more
This beautiful and colorful biography perfectly captures Rivera’s passion for making art, Mexico, the common people, and the ladies. Written in straightforward prose, students will be delighted by tidbits about his personal life such as the nickname his second wife Frida Kahlo used, Frog-face, and the fact that he was over six feet tall and rarely bathed. The text is interspersed with plentiful reproductions of his full murals and details of them, photos of him and Frida, and charcoal
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Intermediate multicultural book:

This is a very honest look into the life of the artist Diego Rivera. Rubin does not sugar coat Rivera's weaknesses and failures, such as his womanizing and the Rockefeller controversy, these things are presented honestly and without judgment, just the facts as they are known. Rubin presents Rivera’s life through the lens of his amazing art. The amazing illustrations include Rivera’s murals and his drawings. She also includes reproductions of art that Rivera found
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great bio that introduces readers to an important Mexican artist and his influences. Text does a great job of inciting interest in the subject and also of covering difficult topics such as adultery. I appreciated the way the author didn't shy away from these facts, but also didn't let them be a bigger focus that that of the artist as a champion of his people and his culture.

Numerous photos of the artist's work is included and following the text there are 2 notes, 1 regarding the history of Me
Holly Mueller
I didn't know much about Diego Rivera, but I definitely recognized some of his famous paintings in the book. This is a good account of his life and development as an artist. His romantic life was a bit of a soap opera;he was married to artist Frida Kahlo twice. The paintings and photographs throughout the biography (I would've liked even more) are interesting, and there is a note about Mexican history and Rivera's artistic influences in the back. I love learning about artists, and so do my stude ...more
Matthew Hundley
May 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
I recently read a kids book about Kandinsky and appreciated the imaginative approach. Rivera deserves a similar treatment. This book, however, is no so imaginative. The cover is attractive. But the overall layout or visuals fall flat. It is fine if you want to read a short essay on Rivera's life with a few choice photos of his works.; but I would love to have seen more effort (graphically) in bringing his work to life and inspiring interest in the minds of our younger generations. An artist wort ...more
Brenda Kahn
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
The title seems to have been changed to Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People, a move I can understand, but "genial cannibal" is certainly attention-grabbing. Rivera was a complex, imperfect man who produced brilliant art. Ms. Rubin contextualizes well, with simple language that engages and flows. The book is also beautifully designed - filled with photographs of the painter as well as his art and plenty of backmatter. Highly recommended. ...more
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a fine biography of the Mexican artist, Diego Rivera, that is complemented by many prints of his paintings and murals. Most of the text focuses on his professional career---very little on his rascally lifestyle. Frida Kahlo is mentioned once in a while, but most of the book is dedicated to Rivera's artistic career.

Compact, gracefully written, attractively designed, this was a fun read for me, a novice appreciator of art.
Annie Oosterwyk
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I think it is difficult to write a biography for upper elementary that is interesting and yet appropriate. I think this book succeeds by focusing on the man as an artist and not on his personal or political life. The reading level is not difficult, and the photos of his work and the explanation of it is good. This book has definitely made me want to read an adult biography of the artist and for me that is a good recommendation.
Thoughtful and interesting biography of one of Mexico's most famous artists of the 20th century (who was married to Mexico's other most famous artist, Frida Kahlo). Much was played up about his "way with the ladies" despite his frog-like appearance and nickname of the "gentle carnivore" from his student days in Paris: frankly, I'm just not sure how appealing young readers will take to it, though I found it fascinating and it piqued my interest to know more about him and his art. ...more
Melissa Mcavoy
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ages 12-18.
A very solid biography of an important artist. Contains many handsome color reproductions of Rivera's work, painters work who influenced him and historic photographs. Focuses on Rivera's embrace of his Mexican heritage and discusses the importance of politics in his work. Extensive source notes, a glossary, bibliography, art credits and list of where to see Rivera's works, and index complete this valuable biography.
May 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Extremely informative book about the unique life experiences of this famous painter. Beautiful photographs are included of the artist and some of his works. The book was a bit text-heavy and I had wished there were more photos of his paintings. There are some questionable topics included so younger readers may need some guidance and support with this book.
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
A good biography of Diego Rivera for upper elementary and middle school readers. Shows aspects of his personal, political, and artistic life. Back matter includes two essays one about the history of Mexico, and the other about Rivera's artistic influences. Also includes a glossary, source notes, and bibliography. ...more
Laura Phelps
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: possiblemsba2013
I found this to be a beautiful biography of a complex and interesting artist. The illustrations and archival photos support and mirror the text nicely and the supporting material at the end fills in informational gaps that readers might have. Rubin does not shy away from Rivera’s personal failings and presents a complete picture of this complicated and visionary artist.
Laura (booksnob)
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Diego Rivera is an artist for the people. He created art on murals for the working class and for people who were illiterate. He wanted to teach the world the history of Mexico. This is a short biography of Diego Rivera and how he became a admired artist. This is a good introductory book for kids and adults who want a quick history of who Diego Rivera is and why his artwork is important.
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Being from Detroit, I know Diego Rivera's name because of the amazing mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts. This book filled me in on the life of the man who created that mural, as well as so many other meaningful works of art. I think this is a well done biography for kids (and adults, too) who want to learn more about this fantastic artist. ...more
Julie Williams
Jun 25, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a biography of Diego Rivera, the famous mural painter from Mexico. While thorough and informative I didn't find it all that interesting and I thought there were too many mentions of his marriages and infidelities for a middle school crowd.

This didn't really work for me.

Elizabeth S
I think the target audience is assumed to have some beginning familiarity with Rivera. It is hard to put my finger on what bothered me about the text. Perhaps it was just that I would prefer more about the art.
Sharon Lawler
One of the better biographies that I have read on this unique artist. Lots of text, lots of photography, examples of his art, accompanied by a bibliography, source notes, glossary, extensive index, and a list of museums where his work may be viewed.
Lin Lin
Diego Rivera, the Mexican artist, who uses murals to illustrate the struggle of his people as they fought against injustice and oppression. The book describes both his achievements as well as his fallouts to make him a real artist and a great one.
Katherine Schmitt
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
To me it felt like there weren't enough pictures in this book, or that it should have been formatted differently for having so much text. I also am nitpicking over writing Dia instead of Día, and I felt like the text wasn't particularly well-written in some parts. ...more
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was not very good. I get that's he's an important artist, and there's some interesting stuff mentioned in the book, but in a blink and you'll miss it sort of way. It only took me about half an hour to read, but I was really bored the whole time. I'm not sure that kids will enjoy it at all. ...more
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Reviewed for LMC. Additional selection.
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, fascinating, informative without being too much text for YA readers. Loved this!!
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Perfect balance of text and pictures. The history of Mexico at the end is fascinating and more concise than any I've ever seen. ...more
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Susan Goldman Rubin is the author of more than forty-five books for young people, including Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter; The Yellow House: Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin Side by Side; and Edward Hopper: Painter of Light and Shadow. A long-time instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers Program, Susan Goldman Rubin lives in Malibu, California.

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