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Chuck Close: Face Book
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Chuck Close: Face Book

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  486 ratings  ·  129 reviews
This fascinating, interactive autobiography presents Chuck Close’s story, his art, and a discussion of the many processes he uses in the studio. The question-and-answer format is based on real kids’ inquiries about Close’s life and work, and his answers to them. Close, who is wheelchair-bound and paints with a brush strapped to his arm, discusses the severe dyslexia and fa ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Harry N. Abrams

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Community Reviews

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I have always thought that art by Chuck Close was a little odd - maybe even weird.. but I have a new appreciation for him and his work after reading this book.. I love that fact that the text is answering questions by kids about his life and his work.. and the explanations are detailed and interesting...
Barbara A.
Totally brilliant book! Possibly among the very finest kids' book on art ever conceived. Though it is suggested for ages 8-12, I suggest than anyone who loves the arts or Chuck Close in particular withh want to spend some quality time with this book.
Paul  Hankins
Too cool!

A book about a contemporary artist for kids by a publishing company that seems to understand the needs of younger readers when it comes to non-fiction. This book would be a home-run in the art classroom as a non-fiction piece!

The artist renders his face using different styles and mediums. All of these are in the book labeled for the medium and approach. But each rendering is cut into three pieces allowing the reader to flip the panels to see that Chuck's face still comes through even i
Destinee Sutton
"Why do you only paint faces?"

"Why doesn't anyone in your art smile?"

"When you were paralyzed, were you afraid you wouldn't be able to paint again?"

These are some of the questions artist Chuck Close answers in his new autobiography for children. Filled with his portraits of mostly ordinary people, this book let's readers into Close's extraordinary life.

Born right here in Washington state in 1940, Close began taking art lessons at age 8. His severe dyslexia and prosopagnosia (face blindness) mad
Apr 13, 2012 Clay rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Elizabeth Bird
Clay's Caldecott favorite!

I've been a huge fan of the world famous artist Chuck Close for many, many years and was delighted to see his Face Book was everything I could have hoped for. Brilliantly designed as questions from studio-visiting kids that Close answers visually and verbally, this inspired me, made me laugh and nod, and I predict it will send kids of all ages and abilities (AND disabilities) straight to their own studios (treehouse, kitchen, bedroom, art class, backyard) wherever they
Holy crap.

Anyone who reads this and then says, "I can't" is an idiot.

Favorite Quotes

If a face expresses some emotion - laughter or anger or sadness - to an extreme, there is only one possible reading of the photo or painting. But if you present someone in a very neutral, straight-forward way, then there is no simple reading of who this person is. You have to look at other clues.

Some of my work measures over ten feet tall. When a viewer confronts such a large image, it is hard to see the head
I dug this book for the most part. I enjoyed Close's answers to kids' questions- he is far more guileless than his art led me to believe. I liked the mix and match pieces of his portraits. There's something not there, though, and I can't put my finger on it exactly, but this book didn't scratch all the itch it created somehow. It's breathtakingly hard to talk about the creative process, and even harder to do so when one's audience is children whose natural bullshit detectors are set to maximum g ...more
I was intrigued at first about the artist's severe dyslexia and his struggles in school, but when it got more into his process, I was fascinated. The grid process he uses to create his art is unbelievable - genius, really, for him to devise a way to combat his natural tendencies that could be self-destructive. I love his discipline - 3 hours of work in the morning, and 3 hours in the evening. Even though he has parameters for his work, I appreciated that he leaves space (NEEDS space) for his cre ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oak Lawn Public Library - Youth Services
Pages: 55

Most of this book is actually written by Chuck Close, a very famous face painter. He had
many learning problems as he was growing up; he was dyslexic, but nobody knew what that was in the 1940’s. He did poor in math, reading, science and every subject, except art. He grew up poor but received a scholarship to go to an art school where he learned how to paint with many different paints and use various canvases. When Close was older a blood vessel in his spine ruptured and caused
Ever since I saw one of his prints in my art classroom supplies, I've been fascinated with Chuck Close's work. I didn't know a lot about him, just found his abstraction of a face fascinating.

This biography is told in a question and answer format and has a fascinating section in the middle where there are several Close self-portraits that can be mix and matched. I learned about Close's learning and neuromuscular problems. Probably most interesting and ironic to me of his struggles was that this g
Most of this book is actually written by Chuck Close, a very famous face painter. He had many learning problems as he was growing up; he was dyslexic, but nobody knew what that was in the 1940’s. He did poor in math, reading, science and every subject, except art. He grew up poor but received a scholarship to go to an art school where he learned how to paint with many different paints and use various canvases. When Close was older a blood vessel in his spine ruptured and caused him to be paralyz ...more
This was a really interesting book.

Face Book is an autobiography of an artist named Chuck Close. He only paints/draws/creates faces. The book was based on a question and answer format, which I found out (at the end of the book) was based on the questions of a group of fifth graders who came to his studio after studying his work. I thought that was a really creative and accessible way to write this book.

Chuck Close is paralyzed from the waist down and lives with learning disabilities which have a
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
Jul 22, 2014 Vernon Area Public Library KIDS rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Grades 4 and above
Shelves: nonfiction
What an interesting book! Chuck Close is an artist who works in a variety of mediums. His subjects are almost exclusively portraits (many are self-portraits), and done on a very large scale. This book is part biography, part art book. The content of the book is comes from an interview done by 5th grade students in Brooklyn, New York. The most unique part of the book are the mix-and-match flip cards to create the artist's face using the different types of art (etching, inkjet, etc.). I'm glad tha ...more
A very cool book about how Chuck Close lived as a child had many challenges, and then he became paralyzed and yet he still paints. Once when he was in school he a 9x7 foot painting, and his teacher gave him extra credit because she knew he had so many challenges.
A really good quick-read. It took me about 30 minutes. In the book it is really cool because you can like "change" paintings and flip them around. So, there are three slips the top, middle, and bottom. So, you can flip them back and fou
Jennifer Haight
Chuck Close is known for his meticulous large scale painting and wasn't the first artist that came to mind when I was told that there was a new book in which kids asks questions to an artist.

The result however, is inspirational. Close opens up about his dyslexia and "face blindness." He shares his struggles with art and his long recovery after he was paralyzed from the chest down after an artery collapsed in his spine.

The layout for the question and answer portion of the book is colorful and ap
Julie Rand
When I first saw this book I wasn’t sure what it was about and I was even more confused when I opened it and saw the flip pages. I wondered what I would write about and thought maybe it was a visual biography without words.

I was happy to be wrong! I loved this book and thought the design and format were amazing! The question and answer format let Close tell his story in his own way. The questions were posed by twelve fifth graders who visited Close’s studio. The questions and answers form the ba
Chris Murray

Chuck Close is a world famous contemporary artist. His artwork is hanging in museums and galleries throughout the world. He is a portrait artist – his specialty is large scale portraits of faces. When he works, he breaks his canvas into grids then fills in each individual square with everything from fingerprints to paper pulp. When you look at squares they don’t mean anything, but somehow, when they are all viewed together as a completed work, they make a remarkable clear portrait. Besides being
Todd Burleson
This review is for the Boston Globe/Horn Book Assignment:

In traditional Chuck Close fashion, the whole book is not only available free, but it is interactive. This book is beautiful and inspiring. In it, Chuck Close answers child generated questions in an easy, respectful and enlightening manner. My favorite part of the book was the three panel section of self-portraits. The book is made in a way that you can flip different eyes, nose and mouth parts, done in a variety of media and methods, but
Wow. An close up look (pun intended) at an amazing person. Chuck Close is one of those kids who could so easily have slipped through the cracks (I seem to keep come across stories like this -- hearing Gary Paulsen & Gary Schmidt talk about their childhoods earlier this year.) Dyslexic, at a time that it wasn't recognized. And with an inability to recognize faces (prosopagnosia - face blindness) -- so he "could meet the same people over and over and not remember them." Not a good thing in sch ...more
Unique and kid-friendly bio -- inspiring story, great info about art, artists, overcoming adversity. Possible Sibert contender. Caldecott? Maybe.

3 starred reviews (PW, SLJ, Kirkus) + ALSC Notables discussion (summer)

2012 Boston Globe - Horn Book Nonfiction Award Winner

"...At the book's brilliant center is the irresistible opportunity to "mix 'n' match" various eyes, noses and mouths among 14 of the artist's arresting self-portraits..."--Kirkus

"’s clear that he considers these setbacks of l
Using questions posed by a group of 5th graders who visited Close, the reader learns of his life--and the art which "saved" him. Throughout his life he has struggled with severe learning disabilities, most notably dyslexia and prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces); then at 48 he was paralyzed from the chest down by a collapsed artery. In this interactive book, he candidly answers questions about his childhood, his evolution as an artist, "the event," and life today. He also discusses his ...more
Christine Turner
I have been wanting to read this for sometime. Now that I finally have my hands on it, I can understand why it go so much attention when it first came out.

This fascinating, interactive autobiography presents Chuck Close's story, his art, and a discussion of the many processes he uses in the studio. The question-and-answer format is based on real kids' inquiries about Close's life and work, and his answers to them. Close, who is wheelchair-bound and paints with a brush strapped to his arm, discu
Leigh Collazo

More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.

REVIEW: Art teachers and students will love this book! It's a perfect way to introduce a living artist and the struggles he's encountered throughout his life, including dyslexia, partial blindness, and paralysis. Art teachers could use this book to introduce new art media and challenge students to explore new ways to create interesting portraits. Some of the techniques include: watercolor, oil paint, etching, pen & ink, pastel, woodcut, and my absolute favori
The autobiography assignment. Oh, it exists. It exists and children’s librarians know to fear it. At a certain time of year a child will approach the reference desk and utter the dreaded words, “I have to read an autobiography of somebody famous”. Never mind that while biographies are plentiful, good autobiographies come out once in a blue moon and, when they are written for kids, tend to be about children’s authors anyway (See: Jack Gantos, Beverly Cleary, Jerry Spinelli, Walter Dean Myers, Jea ...more
Unbelievable portrait of an artist. Sometimes these biographies can be very dry, especially for the younger reader. I love the posing of questions by students that create the story. And the artist himself has overcome SO MANY adversities. You learn about how to achieve even when you're not set to achieve along typical lines of fortune. And I learned about conditions worse than dyslexia that I didn't even know existed. I think we should all try to make a portrait from thumbprints!
Lu Benke
The book has tremendous depth--almost too much! I loved the split page interaction and the story of Chuck Close's life at the beginning. I liked how he put out there very clearly that he did not do well in school until much later in life and that he did art because it made him feel good about himself. This reminds me of the Temple Grandin book--another person whose skills were not the traditional ones yet they each made it work for them. And, the role of supportive parents in each situation was ...more
Quite a remarkable book about a remarkable artist. Chuck Close: Face Book not only details his unique way to create art, it is a testimony to the spirit of man. Afflicted with dyslexia, although not diagnosed as a young child, he did poorly in school, but found his calling when he was around paints and brushes. Then, later in life when a collapsed artery in his spine caused paralysis from the chest down, he found a way to continue with his life's passion.

A remarkable and inspiring look at one o
A unique book. Not a ton of substance. The way this book is put together is intriguing and vividly displays the intricacies of Close's art. However, the writing does not go in depth enough in regards to anything about his style or his life for it to truly leave a lasting impression. Overall, a thoughtful book more in concept than in execution.
RC 2015 The vivid images and question/answer format make this appealing to middle school students or even older students interested in art. This book is vocabulary rich for art and includes a glossary at the end (with the words bold in the text). I did buy a copy for the high school, too, as the painting students do some similar projects.
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Chuck Close is a renowned American painter, printmaker, and photographer. His 1998 traveling retrospective, organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, confirmed his place in the pantheon of major contemporary artists. His paintings, prints, and photographs, represented by PaceWildenstein in New York, are widely exhibited and collected."
More about Chuck Close...
Chuck Close Chuck Close: Self-Portraits 1967-2005 The Portraits Speak: Chuck Close In Conversation With 27 Of His Subjects Chuck Close: Recent paintings Chuck Close Block Puzzle

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“Every idea occurs while you are working. If you are sitting around waiting for inspiration, you could sit there forever.” 6 likes
“In life you can be dealt a winning hand of cards and you can find a way to lose, and you can be dealt a losing hand and find a way to win. True in art and true in life: you pretty much make your own destiny. If you are by nature an optimistic person, which I am, that puts you in a better position to be lucky in life.” 5 likes
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