They say children are made readers on the laps of their parents. I couldn’t agree more, but what else can a child become between the covers of a book? A chef, an astronaut, an architect? Yes, yes, and yes. Books entertain us, expand us, spark the imagination, and expose us to new worlds. A child can find themselves—present and future—amongst the pages of a great story. Looking out from there, anything seems possible.
Elementary school librarian, Jennette Neville, shares her top recommendations for young, aspiring builders...
Above: Photo of Library of Muyinga courtesy of BC architects and studies
Why and how did people start making buildings? How did they learn to make them stronger, bigger, and more comfortable? Explore this large-format, exceptionally illustrated narrative history of buildings and the remarkable people who made them.
Showing the tremendous variety of dwellings worldwide—log cabins, houses on stilts, cave dwellings, boathouses, and yurts—this book addresses why each house is build the way that it is. Reasons—such as blending into the landscape, confusing invaders, being able to travel with one's home, using whatever materials are at hand—are as varied as the homes themselves.
Iggy has one passion: building. His parents are proud of his fabulous creations, though they’re sometimes surprised by his materials—who could forget the tower he built of dirty diapers? When his second-grade teacher declares her dislike of architecture, Iggy faces a challenge. He loves building too much to give it up!
Young Frank, Architect by Frank Viva
Young Frank lives with his grandfather, Old Frank. Young Frank likes to make things from any available materials. His toilet-paper-roll chair and wiggly book skyscraper, however, are dismissed by Old Frank, who takes his grandson to the museum to see the work of “REAL” architects. Will they work out their different sensibilities in the end?
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she's a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal--to fly--Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt's dream come true.
From Mud Huts to Skyscrapers by Christine Paxmann
An absorbing journey through the history of architecture, from the earliest mud huts to today's soaring towers. Chronologically arranged, this large-format book gives each iconic building its own double-page spread featuring an exquisite watercolor illustration and clearly written descriptions, facts, and features.
Architecture According to Pigeons by Stella Gurney
Speck Lee Tailfeather reveals that he and his fellow pigeons are great aficionados of architecture. Speck delivers his account of a journey around the globe, offering a "bird's eye view" of the Colosseum, the Taj Mahal, Golden Gate Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, and dozens of other buildings to delight children and parents alike.
The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale by Steven Guarnaccia
In this quirky, artsy retelling of “The Three Little Pigs,” the pigs and their homes are nods to three famous architects—Frank Gehry, Phillip Johnson, and Frank Lloyd Wright—and their signature homes. Of course, not all the houses are going to protect the pigs from the wolf’s huffing and puffing. Which one will?
Archidoodle: The Architect's Activity Book by Steve Bowkett
Aimed at anyone who loves drawing buildings, this book encourages the user to imagine their own creative solutions by sketching, drawing and painting in the pages of the book. In so doing, they will learn about a whole range of significant architectural issues, like the importance of site and materials, how to furnish a space, how to read plans, and how to create sustainable cities.
Built to Last by David Macaulay
This books reveals the how and why behind some of the most fascinating and enduring structures humankind has ever created. The gorgeous illustrations add to the reader’s understanding of these buildings, capturing intriguing new perspectives and a depth of detail in structure and atmosphere.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears: A Tale Moderne by Steven Guarnaccia
Though our heroine is the same, our bears certainly are not. These bears are hip—they have a sense of style and a love of design. Their split-level home is filled with furnishings created by an international crowd of celebrated designers, from Alvar Aalto to Charles and Ray Eames to Isamu Noguchi. A stylish twist on an old classic.
Julia Morgan Built a Castle by Celeste Manias
Julia Morgan desperately wanted to be an architect, which was not an easy feat in the late nineteenth century. After several rejections, she finally made it into the prestigious all-male École des Beaux Arts, in Paris. She also became California's first licensed female architect and designed over 800 buildings, including newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst's magnificent San Simeon. With exquisite illustrations, this is the story of a spirited pioneer.
Henry Builds a Cabin by D.B. Johnson
When Henry decides to build a cabin for himself in the woods, he gets some help and a lot of advice from his friends. But Henry, being Henry, has his own ideas, and he sets about building his house as a bird builds its nest. Inspired by the life of Henry David Thoreau, and illustrated with nature-filled paintings, this book is a thoughtful and beautiful meditation on what a home can be.
Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale
A collection of illustrations, concrete poetry, and photographs that shows how young children’s constructions, created as they play, are reflected in notable works of architecture from around the world.
Roberto, The Insect Architect by Nina Laden
Ever since he was a wee mite (a termite, that is), Roberto has wanted to be an architect. Discouraged by his wood-eating family and friends, he decides to follow his dream to the big, bug city. There he meets a slew of not-so-creepy, crawly characters who spark in him the courage to build a community for them all.
Jennette Neville is an elementary school librarian in Pasadena, CA. She is a huge fan of books, reading, and children, and loves to host music-filled storytimes with the help of her trusty ukulele. Her blog, The Story Hour, recommends great reads for toddlers through teenagers. When not in the library, you can find Jennette playing with her children, her cat or her ridiculously cute bunnies.