Building Stories juxtaposes literature and the built environment – just as ABCs are the building blocks for language, illustrations and imagination serve as the foundation for designing the world around us. Like tall tales, monumental structures stretch our imaginations to the limit and beyond, enlarging our very definition of the possible. How better for children to begin thinking like young architects and engineers than by constructing something of their own design? This month, put yourself in the shoes of a builder or architect through our featured book and activity.

Building something takes a lot of people’s creativity and hard work – read a book about someone who designs and builds, like an architect or construction worker and then build a structure as tall as you can – out of blocks, books, newspaper, or any item that interests you! What material is easiest to build with? What shapes helped your structure stay up?

Need a House? Call Ms. Mouse by George Mendoza

In Need a House? Call Ms. Mouse by George Mendoza, you can see inside all the different kinds of houses that Ms. Mouse designs for her animal clients, including lizard, frog, spider, and rabbit. Each creature has their own preferences and Ms. Mouse uses her creativity to design something unique for each home.

Be sure to check out this month’s featured book, Need a House? Call Ms. Mouse, in the “Wider World” gallery in Building Stories.

Suggested Books

Grades K-2
Building Our House by Jonathan Bean
The House That She Built by Mollie Elkman
Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty
If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen
Archie the Architect by Jon Masini
Young Frank, Architect by Frank Viva
Roberto, The Insect Architect by Nina Laden

Grades 3-8
City by Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Walls Within Walls by Maureen Sherry
No Small Plans by Gabrielle Lyon
The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg
Junk Castle by Robin Klein
The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett

The Pillars of the Earth series by Ken Follet
Cathedral by Ben Hopkins
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
Broken Glass: Mies Van Der Rohe, Edith Farnsworth, and the Fight Over a Modernist Masterpiece by Alex Beam
The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak.

Building Readers Club is supported by the DC Public Library Foundation and The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.