As I am writing this month’s Beautiful Books list, everything feels very different from last time. It’s now April, Spring has officially sprung and there is a feeling of positivity in the air. Having gotten over the end of the Winter slump and recovered from the obligatory Easter chocolate coma, the start of Spring always comes with an excitement as to what the rest of the year has to offer.
The publishing world has reacted to this exciting time by releasing a plethora of fresh and inspiring titles aimed at building on your general knowledge and sparking the imagination of your inner creative. As it’s such a jolly month, April feels like the perfect time to learn something new and here are my picks of the best titles to help you do just that…
Professor Astro Cat’s Atomic Adventure
Continuing on their war against dull textbooks, Flying Eye Books recently published Professor Astro Cat’s Atomic Adventure, which takes the reader on an education adventure through the incredible world of physics. Written by Dr. Dominic Walliman and illustrated by Ben Newman, the book is as entertaining as it is educational. If you are anything like me, boring science classes at school will have seriously dampened your impression of science as an interesting subject. However, Astro Cat’s adventurous brand of physics will have learners of any age excited to get to know more about the inner workings of our mysterious world.
Life Portraits: Frida Kahlo
The fourth book in Nina Cosford and Zena Alkayat’s Life Portraits series looks at the life of iconic artist Frida Kahlo. The series is dedicated to telling the stories of influential historic female figures and Frida’s is a story of resilience, positivity and determination. Covering both the dramatic plot points of her story like her battle with illness and injury and the more intimated details of her life by including extracts from letters she had written, and a look at what you would find in her wardrobe – the book constructs a well-rounded picture of who Frida truly was as a person. Covering Frida’s entire life story, it reveals her to be not just a talented painter but a style icon, spirited optimist and unstoppable force.
Little People, Big Dreams: Coco Chanel
The latest addition to another book series highlighting the lives of influential women in a very different way looks at the life of fashion icon Coco Chanel. Taking the giant of the design world and shrinking her down to a child-sized dreamer, the book looks at the childhood which help shaped the icon. Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Ana Albero, the book captures both sides of Coco’s life, showing the free-thinking and boundless creativity that a young Gabrielle championed as well as the style and glamour of the life of her fully grown and rebranded self.
Looking at Painting Vol. 2
My final pick for this month is a bit of cheat as it is in fact a magazine and not a book but it fitted in with my “learn something new” theme so well, that I couldn’t not include it. Just like the first issue, volume 2 of Looking at Painting magazine shines the spotlight on some incredible creative talents from the world of fine art. With both issues, my favourite thing about the magazine has been how it turns fine art into a much more inclusive art form. No longer just for a select few who “get it”, the variety of artworks showcased in the journal’s pages – which include graphic collages canvases, wonky ceramics and playful sculptures – shows that contemporary fine art is something we can all understand and enjoy immensely.