Frank, Who Liked to Build

The Architecture of Frank Gehry

  • Interest Level: Preschool - Grade 3
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

One building looks like it’s been wrapped in tinfoil. Another looks like it’s buried under a pile of paint chips. Frank Gehry has been called “the most important architect of our age.” As a child, his parents thought of him as nothing but a dreamer. But Frank kept dreaming and playing, following his passions and becoming an architect who created astounding buildings that to this day attract millions of visitors worldwide.

“Being a Chicagoan, I know Frank Gehry’s work in our beloved Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Frank, Who Liked to Build gives young readers a fascinating introduction to the creative vision behind one of the greatest architects of our time.” —Sherri Duskey Rinker, author of the Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site series

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Interest Level Preschool - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre Picture Books, Social Studies
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: B Self-Management, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2022
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2022-03-01
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS JNF007010, JNF011000, JNF049110
Dewey 720.92 [B]
Dimensions 9.25 x 11
Lexile 930
Features Author/Illustrator note, Reviewed, Teaching Guides, and eSource

Author: Deborah Blumenthal

Deborah Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and nutritionist, and the author of twenty-three books for adults and children. She has been a regular contributor to The New York Times. Her feature stories have appeared in a wide variety of national newspapers and magazines, including The New York Daily News, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Family Circle, and Woman’s Day. Deborah lives in New York City.

Illustrator: Maria Brzozowska

Maria Brzozowska was born in Poland and spent most of her childhood growing up in Turkey, where she now lives. She’s a graduate of Leeds Arts University, a visual storyteller who enjoys taking a poetic approach to her art. She uses traditional painting techniques aided by digital methods.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Frank, Who Liked to Build

One building looks like it’s been wrapped in tinfoil. Another looks like it’s buried under a pile of paint chips. Frank Gehry has been called “the most important architect of our age.” As a child, his parents thought of him as nothing but a dreamer. But Frank kept View available downloads →


Jewish Herald-Voice (Texas Gulf Coast)

Blumenthal’s message to her juvenile readers: Keep dreaming, playing and following your passions.

Sydney Taylor Shmooze

This book provides an interesting look at the creative process—the sources of inspiration, the repeated attempts, the doubts, the risk-taking—that could be a springboard for a discussion on this topic for parents, teachers, and librarians.

Forward: The Jewish Daily

Recommended for any kid in need of new facts for the dinner table.

Moment Magazine

In its own vivid and colorful pages, Frank, Who Liked to Build: The Architecture of Frank Gehry (by Deborah Blumenthal with illustrations by Maria Brzozowska) focuses on the professional accomplishments—with some attention to the Jewish influences—of the famed architect and longtime California resident, who was born Frank Goldberg in 1929. Among other tidbits, readers learn that “Jews faced prejudice in Canada, where he grew up, and in Los Angeles, where he went to architecture school,” prompting him, unhappily, to change his surname to something less identifiably Jewish.

Jewish Book Council

This biog­ra­phy of a famous Cana­di­an-Amer­i­can archi­tect is pre­sent­ed through freeform illus­tra­tions that grab your atten­tion the way his build­ings do. Ener­gy jumps off each page, with the book’s com­bi­na­tion of evoca­tive words and emblem­at­ic works.

Author Blu­men­thal ties Frank Gehry’s Jew­ish her­itage to his career and his vision. She does not mince words about the anti­semitism that made him change his name or the dis­ap­proval of his par­ents regard­ing his art career, which they felt would be just a dream. His grand­moth­er is his rock, giv­ing him chal­lah pieces to con­struct the shapes in his head.

Gehry has a per­son­al vision, which he suc­cess­ful­ly forms into dra­mat­ic, use­ful build­ings all over the world; the build­ings are dis­tinc­tive­ly shaped, and they wel­come mil­lions of vis­i­tors. His dar­ing use of form and mate­r­i­al earn him the cov­et­ed Pritzk­er Archi­tec­ture Prize, the equiv­a­lent of the Nobel.

In this pic­ture book, a bold, descrip­tive vocab­u­lary holds its own against the dri­ving, swirling art. Gehry stud­ies, plays, invents, and above all dreams. Then he turns the pos­si­bil­i­ties into real­i­ty by “start­ing with ordi­nary and shap­ing it into extra­or­di­nary one build­ing at a time.”