Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, September 4, 2017

The World Is Not a Rectangle by Jeanette Winter

The World is Not A Rectangle: a portrait of architect Zaha Hadid
Written and Illustrated by Jeanette Winter
Beach Lane Books: imprint of Simon & Schuster. 2017
ISBN: 9781481446993
All ages

Note: While Cathy Potter is on Sabbatical, Louise is writing all the reviews. Cathy will return February, 2018.

Jeanette Winter turns her talent as a writer and illustrator to tell the life of Iraqi architect, Zaha Mohammad Hadid. Zaha was “the most irreverent, controversial, and celebrated architect in the world.”  

Zaha, born on October 31, 1950, grew up in Baghdad, Iraq. With her father she would visit rivers, marshes, dunes, “and imagined what cities looked like thousand of years ago.” 

Zaha moved to London to attend college. After graduating, she would open a studio in an old school building. Nicknamed, "Queen of the Curve," her buildings were never a rectangular shape. She took inspiration from the surrounding landscapes, making her buildings unique. Zaha never wanted her work to fit nicely inside an accepted box.
Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan, completed in 2012.

This informational picture book biography is a brief introduction to a remarkable woman. In 2004, Zaha became the first woman and first Muslim to win the coveted Pritzker Architecture Prize. Sadly, she passed away in March, 2016.

The book's design models how Zaha saw her world, not as a rectangle, but full of curves that reflect the flow of the environment where her buildings now stand. The text, instead of linear across the page seem to undulate above and below Winter's gorgeous art. 

Back matter includes a two page spread that identifies where each of Zaha's buildings, shown in the book, reside. Also, a brief author’s note, a few quotes from Zaha, and a bibliography of sources Winter used for research.

Share with students interested in design or put on display with other books about remarkable women. 

To write this review, I borrowed this book from my local public library.

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