Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Architecture for Everyone

There are so many young people with the dream of building exciting buildings.  Whether it is a tent made out of blankets, a building created with toilet paper rolls, Legos and building blocks taken to towering heights, or some other magnificent structure, there are myriad reasons to encourage such activities whenever possible. 

I was inspired to think about this and post this today when I found this interesting lists of 15 Adorable Children's Books Featuring Architecture..  It is a great list, but I can't resist adding just a few more books that I like.

Everyday Structures from A to Z by Bobbie Kalman is an alphabet of interesting ways of looking at structures, constructions, shapes, and styles.  I am not always thrilled with the questions that the author chooses to ask, but they are good jumping off points for discussions between you and your child or the reader can skip through them to find ones that are interesting.  This book could be enjoyed by Kindergarten and first graders with some parental help and by those up about grade five as a starting point for learning more about structures.

As suggested in the on-line list above, the books of David Macaulay are amazing insider views of great constructions from Castles and Pyramids to Cathedrals and Mosques.  He has a newer series for younger readers, but the beloved ones are what will capture middle grade students to adults with their detail and wealth of information.  If you find his book called Built to Last, you will get Castle, Cathedral, and Mosque all in one volume.

If you want an exciting story of the brave folks who actual build the skyscrapers, offer your middle grade to middle school aspiring architect Skywalkers:  Mohawk Ironworkers Build the City by David Weitzman  looks at the long connection between the Mohawk people and construction by first looking at the construction of the longhouses that were built in what is now upstate New York perhaps as long as 4,000 years ago.  Most of the book, however, concerns how the Mohawk people have been involved with so much modern construction, risking their lives as they create the iron structures that take skyscrapers reaching for the clouds.

Picture-book-reading builders will enjoy Monkey with a Toolbelt by Chris Monroe as they marvel at the real and pun-created tools in his belt and the creative ways he puts them to use to help friends and escape danger.  This is an imagination sparking joy for kindergarten and up.

For space age style creations, spark imagination with Marveltown by Bruce McCall.  Marveltown is a city created by inventors and filled with things like a Skyway held up by invisible ion rays and opportunities to go rocket-jumping by moonlight or fishing from a mile-high tower.  No wonder all the kids who live there are inspired to make their own inventions like a rocket chair, a machine to eat homework,  or a rug especially created to trip school bullies.  When things go very wrong in this placid town, it is the inventions of the kids that help to save the day.  This picture book will appeal to kindergarten and up.

Henry Builds a Cabin  by D. B. Johnson goes back in time with a story inspired by the life and writings of Henry David Thoreau.  The Henry in the book is a bear who is shown designing his house and then building it from chopping and shaping the logs to notching beams and fitting them into place.  His neighbors think the house is too small, but Henry knows where he wants his priorities and for him the great outdoors serve as most of his rooms so his house doesn't need to be very big.  This picture book will appeal to grades two and up as well as to anyone who as an interest in Thoreau.

Don't stop here.  Check out craft books which will inspire creations.  Cookbooks, too, are often about building edible creations that are more than a couple of layers with icing. (The Secret Life of Food by Clare Crespo is one cookbook that comes quickly to mind in this category.)   In fact, true inspiration can be found almost anywhere.  Read a little then gather supplies and start building.  Have fun.

No comments: