2 Middle Grade Nonfiction Titles for Budding Architects

Hand the these two works exploring the ever-evolving world of architecture to budding architects and any reader curious about the past and future of the buildings that populate our world.

Hand the these two works exploring the ever-evolving world of architecture to budding architects and any reader curious about the past and future of the buildings that populate our world.

Castaldo, Nancy F. Buildings that Breathe: Greening the World’s Cities. 112p. Twenty-First Century. Nov. 2022. Tr $32.37. ISBN 9781728419466.
Gr 6-10 –The climate crisis is changing the way we live and the buildings we live in. Castaldo’s work shares historical, scientific, and architectural interventions that help young readers understand how buildings can be designed for our changing climate. Focused on urban buildings, the text is clear and well cited, providing a sufficient depth of content. Importantly for young readers—and researchers—the glossary, references, bibliographies, and index are excellent tools to further the discussion or allow for a deeper dive into the topic. Castaldo also includes a list of suggested sites to visit and a calendar of events, encouraging young readers to explore the world outside the book. Throughout the text, there are sidebars offering a variety of engaging content, such as steps for “How can you help green your city or town?” an introduction to the “Library of Trees,” and even an explanation on “the importance of city-dwelling pollinators.” Photographs and illustrations support or expand on the text. VERDICT An exciting opportunity to engage young readers with their world and the multidisciplinary researchers working on these big, global issues.–Jessica Schriver

Craigie, Gregor. Why Humans Build Up: The Rise of Towers, Temples and Skyscrapers. illus. by Kathleen Fu. 96p. Orca. Sept. 2022. Tr $29.95. ISBN 9781459821880.
Gr 5 Up –Craigie’s latest walks readers through the evolution of sky-high monuments. In the beginning, these buildings were erected for safety and religious purposes. Now the focus is to build tall towers for population booms. Some newer skyscrapers are even built to reduce pollution and help battle climate change. Each chapter explains this progression from safety to sustainability. The author anchors the readers’ learning by citing well-known high-rise structures, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower, and the Empire State Building. In addition, Craigie stretches readers’ knowledge by discussing other lesser-known structures. These include the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Shanghai Tower, Hong Kong High-Rise, and the Manitoba Hydro Palace, just to name a few. Both the illustrations and the photos included enhance the text and assist tweens in understanding the content. The language is clear, and a glossary is included. Consequently, it is a valuable resource for striving and reluctant readers. This would serve as an excellent contemporary companion to David Macaulay’s older books, such as Cathedral, Castle, and Pyramid. VERDICT Recommended as an asset for both school and public libraries. Students who are fascinated by history and architecture will especially enjoy this book.–Jeni Tahaney

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