Amazing Faces
by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Chris Soentpiet
Mick and Jade
Amazing Faces Cover Hopkins, Lee Bennett.  (2010) Amazing Faces.  Illustrated by Chris Soentpiet. Lee & Low Books.

For more information about this book and curriculum connections, locate the November 2010 issue of Library Sparks for the "In the Spotlight" column featuring  Amazing Faces.  Column written by Sharron L. McElmeel

On this page the author and illustrator speak further about  their creative process.
Index of poetry contained in Amazing Faces
Amazing Faces represents diversity throughout America -- and emotions of daily life.  The book's arc reaches from the birth of a baby to people as they age.
Lee Bennett Hopkins says:
Lee Bennett Hopkins 1992
I knew from the start the book’s arc would go from the birth of a baby to people as they age.  There is beauty in youth as in the innocence of young teens in 'Hamburger Heaven'; there is beauty in the surprised face of a mother standing in a doorway as her young son returns from war in Prince Redcloud’s "A Young Soldier"; and there is such beauty in faces of the aged. J. Patrick Lewis captures this in his tender "Abuela" about a grandmother whose face is "a lacework of courage…Her cheeks, soft antiques of the sun…". Such beautiful lines to describe a loving grandmother who "is everyone /Of us come from otherwhere….".  Goosebump words! 
(quoted from a written interview with Lee Bennett Hopkins - June 1, 2010)
Chris Soentpiet used watercolors to create the portraits for this book.
Chris Soentpiet 2001
Painting with watercolors can be very difficult, especially painting faces.  I use watercolors because I’m able to achieve bright colors by layering them.  There are many elements that must come together in order to create a beautiful illustration. For example: Composition, luminous lighting, emotion and expressions on faces.
One way to achieve details in my painting is to control the amount of water that is applied to the painting.  Also using a very, very fine point brush helps.  I paint 20% bigger than the book size because the painting must fit on the drums scan when the book is printed.  I would love to paint bigger.  The larger the painting, the greater detail I’m able to execute.  Many of the paintings I produce have great amount of details, but each object is choreographed with a specific purpose, and not randomly distributed.
Like words, each element must count.  A typical painting would take about 2-3 weeks.  I paint over 8 hours a day in silence. The last poem “My People” took a month and a half to finish.
We wanted to vary the poems not only in gender, but in ethnicity.
We also wanted to evenly spread the race throughout the book.  This was a bit of challenging. To spread the race and gender, while keeping the theme of age progression through out the book. And in the end I wanted all the races to be represented. Even though the final poem ‘My People“ by Langston Hughes, was about the African-American experience.  We felt the poem was about all of America. Now where does a large group of people of all races, gender, and age gather in a festive occasion?  I came up with fireworks. I have been to many firework celebrations in New York City and all races, gender and age come to gather to these events.  It is truly a melting pot, especially in New York City. Plus the fireworks allows me to paint beautiful lighting effects on their amazing faces.
(quoted from a written interview with Chris Soentpiet - June 6, 2010)
Index of Poems included in Amazing Faces
First Line
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
"Amazing Face"
Amazing, your face.
Kam Mak
from "My Chinatown"
Twelve hours every day
Carole Boston Weatherford
from "Which Way to Dreamland?"
How in the world do dreams get in your head?
Jane Medina
"Me x 2"
I read times two.

"Yo x 2"
Leo por dos.
Nikki Grimes
"Miss Stone"
My wishes gathered like ants.
Jude Mandell
"I'm the One"
I'm the one.
Jane Yolen
"Karate Kid"
I am wind.
Tom Robert Shields
October comes with / Chill air —
Pat Mora
"High in the Sky"
After supper, I sit outside
Janet S. Wong
"Living Above Good Fortune"
I live above Good Fortune
Lee Bennett Hopkins
"Hamburger  Heaven"
He looks        She looks
Prince Redcloud
"A Young Soldier"
A young soldier
Mary E. Cronin
"Firefighter Face"
Trickles of sweat eetch silvery trails
Joseph Bruchac
"Aunt Molly Sky"
You can read so many things in her face.
J. Patrick Lewis
Her face, a lacework of courage;
Langston Hughes
"My People"
The night is beautiful.

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