BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale

Dreaming UpI’m a little hesitant to tell you about this ingenious book … everyone should experience their own moment of delight at discovering author/illustrator Christy Hale‘s superbly simple yet incredibly clever format. So feel free to stop right here and just order the book …

That said, in the spirit of ‘show, don’t tell,’ click here.

Every intriguing spread follows that perfect formula: on the left, kids dream up all sorts of play in verse (using stacking cups, mud pies, blankets over chairs, sand castles, jujubes and toothpicks, popsicle sticks), and to the right, Hale shows the results of such imaginative children who grew up to be renowned architects by building those dreams into reality (Petronas Twin Towers, New Gourna Village, Yoyogi National Stadium, La Sagrada Família, Montréal Biosphère, Sclera Pavilion, respectively). Given Hale’s last title that is wholly hers (as opposed to illustrating and designing around others’ words), The East-West House, she clearly has an imaginative penchant for creative structures and their creators.

With every spread, Hale also makes sure to represent much of the world’s diverse population at play, from the multi-culti children she draws, to the internationally iconic buildings and their creators she carefully chooses. Hale reserves the final four pages to help interested young readers locate the buildings (from New York City to Kuala Lumpur to Telluride to Barcelona to Cartagena to Chengdu, and further on), and sparks further interest in their architects (including Hassan Fathy, Maya Lin, Antoni Gaudí, Simón Vélez, Shigeru Ban, David Adjaye, and many more). She even adds just the right dreamy quotes: “Space is created from lights and shadow … It needs you – your eyes, your mind – to fill it.” [Turn to the penultimate page to see who said that.]

My, my, my … talk about heights of inspiration!

Tidbit: Not to name favorites, but I must confess that Moshe Safdie‘s Habit 67 is where I would want to head first; that Safdie completed his architecture thesis project with LEGOs is proof positive of the power of play. His son, by the way, is Oren Safdie, who is an architect by training, a playwright/screenwriter by career, who catapulted his own personal stardom with Private Jokes, Public Places in which he immortalized many of his father’s views on designing and building. It remains one of the most indelible plays I’ve ever seen.

Tidbit2: Christy Hale’s book launch party for Building Up happens THIS Saturday, October 20, 2012, at Books Inc. in Palo Alto, California (one of my favorite bookstores ever!) from 6:00 – 8:00 pm PST. Pally Ally buddies, especially – please, please do go and send back a full report! Wish I could be there, too!

Readers: Children

Published: 2012


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