A Washington Post Best Children’s Book of 2017
Parents’ Choice Recommended
Get to know Zaha Hadid in this nonfiction picture book about the famed architect’s life and her triumph over adversity from celebrated author-illustrator Jeanette Winter.
Zaha Hadid grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, and dreamed of designing her own cities. After studying architecture in London, she opened her own studio and started designing buildings. But as a Muslim woman, Hadid faced many obstacles. Determined to succeed, she worked hard for many years, and achieved her goals—and now you can see the buildings Hadid has designed all over the world.
Direct quotations from Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid pepper this spare but engrossing biography from Winter (Nanuk the Ice Bear). After moving quickly through Hadid's childhood, highlighting her fascination with local "rivers and marshes and dunes and ruins," Winter devotes several pages to her remarkable designs: "tall buildings dancing like grass" (the Signature Towers of Dubai), "an opera house like the pebbles in the water" (China's Guangzhou Opera House), and others. The undulating shapes and milky colors of Winter's images emphasize the connections between the structures and their natural inspirations, and Hadid's commitment to her designs features prominently: "Hadid means iron in Arabic, and Zaha is strong as iron," writes Winter as Hadid fixes readers with a steely gaze. It's a stirring reminder of how far nontraditional thinking and dedication to one's ideals can take a person. Ages 5 10.