Close, Chuck. 2012. CHUCK CLOSE: THE FACE BOOK. New York, NY: Abrams. ISBN 9781419701634 [Suggested Grade Levels 4 – 12]
In this very introspective autobiograhy, Close presents his life through pictures and words. Many may ask, “Who is Chuck Close?” Yet the reader soon learns that he is one of our nation’s premier artists and this book shows why.
Through interview questions from 5th grade students, the reader comes to know an individual who has struggled to become who he is today. Readers can connect with Close, who is a role model, despite his self-portrait of him smoking. He elaborates upon this past failing, upon the danger of it, and overcoming the addiction. The reader also learns of Close’s physical handicaps, wheel chair bound and painting with his brush strapped to his arm while living with dyslexia. Yet the reader also learns how hard Close worked to overcome them and become the successful artist that he is today.
The book has a wealth of information from the interviewed questions, timeline, glossary, a list of museums where you can see his work, and an image glossary of his artwork. As the title suggests, The Face Book is just that; a collection of self-portraits that can be mixed and matched while remaining appropriate for the school library. Autobiographies that inspire, inform, and connect with the reader are rare at this age range so this one is a true prize for any collection.
This book is excellent for discussing handicaps, and how a person may struggle to accept and overcome the limitations. It is also a wonderful look at an art form that could be replicated in the classroom or art class.
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