EDUCATION

Who Built That? teaches children more than modern architecture and engineering

By reading Who Built That?, children learned more than architecture and engineering principles. They learn that to turn a project into reality requires vision, passion, creativity, problem-solving skills, and determination.

As I wrote before, I felt in love with modern architecture at 6 years old. I’m glad that I can share this interest with my son. We have been reading about skyscrapers this week.

Our latest bedtime story is Who Built That? Skyscrapers: An Introduction to Skyscrapers and Their Architects by Didier Cornille. The book explains the technological breakthroughs, design elements, and engineering concepts of eight tall buildings. It’s written in terms that children can understand. But the most important thing, in my view, is that Cornille described the motivations and the challenges that the creators had to face to make their project a reality.

We keep a copy of All the Buildings in New York nearby to get another view of the iconic buildings we saw in Cornille’s book. I used James Gulliver Hancock’s book to refer to the buildings we saw when we traveled to New York a few years ago. This makes the entire learning experience more real. Finally, I used this time together to further discuss ways that my son could incorporate what he learned or saw into his own constructions and drawings.

Here’s a little secret. We don’t read these books just for pleasure. I have a second agenda. I’m doing research with my son. He’s a good representative of the target audience for a new STEM activity program I’m working on. It’s an ambitious project so we’ll see how it goes. It’s still too soon to tell.

In the meantime, the Who Built That? series would make a great addition to your library. These minimalist illustrated books by Didier Cornille have the right ingredients to capture the attention of little builders. Cornille’s first book is a tour of ten Modern Houses from renowned architects of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Then, he wrote about skyscrapers. Cornille presented 10 remarkable Bridges and their engineer or architect in his latest book. You can read them in English or in French.