Friday Favorite

Dreaming_Up_CupsDreaming_Up During a recent visit to the library with my kids, I discovered a non-fiction picture book that’s so incredibly cool I have to share. It starts with the quote “If they can dream it, they can build it” by Madhu Thangavelu, an architect and engineer who is an expert in the design of complex space projects. Titled Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale (Lee & Low Books, 2012), it depicts children of multiple ages and ethnicities at play, building various structures such as cup towers, cardboard houses, sand castles, and blanket forts. Each illustration has a corresponding page with a real photo of an architectural treasure akin to the child-built structure. A basic stick teepee has the structural origins of the Bamboo Church in Cartagena, Columbia. A painted cardboard box used as a playhouse is compared to the Box House in Telluride, Colorado designed by architect Maya Lin. A simple blanket fort, something all children can relate to, shares a shape with Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan- world famous for its curving suspension roof.
The text is rhyming and rhythmic (“Cup on cup stacking up, smaller, smaller, and growing taller!”) and visually mimics the structure. One of my favorites describes creating an igloo: “Balls of snow, bags of land, bend down low, fill your hand. Pack them, stack them, circle round. Dome is, home is, built on ground” (the real life structure shown is Mars One, a dome-like circular shelter built with sandbags full of soil and held together by velcro). The final pages have a picture and description of the real structure, a brief bio and illustration of the architect as well as a quote. For those who believe, as I do, that child’s play is really about working out an understanding of life experiences, dreams, and realities, this book will be an inspiration. Children ages 3 and up will love looking through this, especially if they spend hours building with blocks or legos. And adults? Watch out! This book will inspire you to be a kid again- creating, traveling, and dreaming.