Friday, October 16, 2015

Bookmarks: Children's Books on Famous Landmarks

Do you have a son (or daughter) who is enthralled with building projects? 

Here are some favorite pictures books for elementary-age children that will bring to life some of the amazing construction projects in America still standing today. These books all passed, not only my children's attention test, but also their mother's.

Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose: Growing Up on Mount Rushmore by Tina Nichols Coury, Illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

Lincoln was only a boy when his father, sculptor Gutzon Borglum, suggested carving four presidents' faces into a South Dakota mountain. But without Lincoln's help, this bold project would have never been completed. The astounding accomplishment of Mt. Rushmore is told, accompanied with great illustrations.

Pop's Bridge by Eve Bunting, Illustrated by C.F. Payne

Robert thinks his father has the best job as an iron worker on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. But when an accident occurs, he realizes that each worker is important. A well-illustrated book that includes historical information about the bridge.

Follow four boys, a French metal worker, a sailor, a New York newsboy, and an iron worker—as they contribute to the building of the Statue of Liberty. Children interested in construction will pour over the detailed drawings that add interest and historical accuracy to each boy's story. The writing feels a bit stilted but the book has much to offer.

Naming Liberty by Jane Yolen, Illustrated by Jim Burke

A parallel story that tells of a young Russian girl on a journey to America and an artist with a bold vision for a statue that celebrates America's freedom. A reminder of the determination and persistence that made the Statue of Liberty, and a new home in America, a reality.

This book (and the others in the “You Wouldn't Want to...” series) take a humorous and sometimes sarcastic look at famous events. The illustrations are comic-style and are a hit with children, especially action-loving boys. But the historical information is solid, and this book gave a good overview of the challenges that faced the builders of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.

Twenty-One Elephants by Phil Bildner, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

The amazing Brooklyn Bridge has been completed, but many are scared to walk on the new bridge. Everyone but Hannah. With the help of Barnum's twenty-one elephants, Hannah proves the Brooklyn Bridge is safe. A well-illustrated story based on a true event.

Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building by Deborah Hopkinson, Illustrated by James E. Ransome

The 1930's was a discouraging time for many Americans but the Empire State Building brought hope. This is the incredible story of one of the world's most famous buildings and the men, called sky boys, who dared the heights. Well-researched book combines with great drawings to make it worth your time.

Do you have any favorite children's book on building projects to add to this list?

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  1. Thank you the book titles! My son reads so quickly I am always on the lookout for new books.

  2. I love David Macaulay's books! They were published in the 1980s, but you can probably still get them through libraries. I know they are still in print. I can remember Pyramid, City, Cathedral, and Mill, especially. I'm reading Underground to my boys right now, and we just read Unbuilding. Look for them--you and your children will love them. I'm going to look at our library here in New Zealand and see if I can get any that you mentioned, but I'm dubious. I'd like to review them for my daughter's book review website. I love picture books like you are mentioning here!

    1. I had forgotten about David Macaulay's but they were a favorite of mine when I was a child and my children have enjoyed them too. But I've never seen Unbuilding, I'll have to look for it.

  3. I always love to see your book lists. I am going to see if I can interlibrary loan any of these. This year we are studying the USA and so it would be nice to see if we can get any of them. However we are in Canada so I am not sure that they would be in our libraries. Last year we studied Canada. I also love David Macaulay's books and I was able to get one at a used book sale.

    Just curious- how do you/do you save lists of your favourite books? How do you do it, by topic? I am finding it challenging to keep track of the books we read and also keep them all in my head so I can use them later for the younger children as they get older.

    1. I wish I had a good solution for book lists. This is one reason that I'm sharing some of my book lists here - maybe I'll be able to find them again! Right now I have some of my books we have read and enjoyed listed chronological by history date. This is helpful when studying, for example, the middle ages. Other books I have listed by topic, such as sea creatures. I'd love to figure out a way to make the lists more easy for me to use, but I haven't found a good method yet. And then there is the problem of age level. Do I make separate lists for older and younger children, or keep them all together? I'd love to hear any ideas that you all might have.

  4. David Macaulay's book on Castles is one of my favorites. It's also available on youtube as a documentary that's pretty good. :)


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