A visionary architect from Iraq gets well-deserved attention in Winter’s new picture-book biography about a woman of courage whose ideas and persistence influenced the world.
Zaha Hadid, a native of Baghdad, grows up admiring nature and patterns. She designs her own clothes, wonders at the ruins in her homeland, and dreams of designing cities. “Zaha has ideas.” Zaha studies math, then leaves home to study architecture in London. She then sets to work planning and designing what the world has never seen: buildings conceived after the shapes and patterns of nature. Working past the initial rejection and discrimination she faces, Zaha grows her firm from one room to an entire building. Eventually, her designs are built all over the world. Her architects continued “making models of her visions” even after her death, which is gently portrayed in this book for young readers. The illustrations in this portrait are fresh and spare, highlighting the concepts behind Zaha’s designs. As in Winter’s other picture books, the use of color, shape, and pattern in the artwork pairs beautifully with the straightforward text to tell this intriguing story. The text makes a delightful read-aloud, and it’s engaging enough to grab the attention of independent readers as well.
This powerful biography is a boon for all children and is particularly valuable for children outside of the mainstream who have large visions and dreams of their own. (author’s note, sources.) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)