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Architecture for Kids: Books in French About Houses, Cool Buildings and More

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Architecture is everyone's business and it's never too early to spark a child's interest in it. Buildings and houses are all around us, and in reading about architecture, children learn about critical thinking and become more aware of their environment. From spaces such as their own rooms and homes, to larger housing projects and public spaces, architecture is all around us.


Banner image by Didier Cornille éditions Helium 

La Ville du bout des doigts

With their fingertips, children can follow a path that crosses a city. Children will learn, little by little, to control their gestures and have fun too. Through this exploration of the city, a child will develop their fine motor skills and prepare themselves for the first stage of writing. Ages 2+

Iggy peck l'architecte

Also originally published in English, this French language version follows Iggy, who has one passion: building. His parents are proud of his fabulous creations, though they’re sometimes surprised by his materials—who could forget the tower he built out of dirty diapers? When his second-grade teacher declares her dislike for architecture, Iggy faces a challenge. He loves building too much to give it up! Ages 4+ 

Popville

Popville, is a pop-up design game of cubes. There's a very small village, and at the heart of this future city is a church with a red roof, two houses, a little yellow car, and trees on each side. Then, a crane appears and a road is being built. Gradually, a city is taking shape,  expanding, in increasingly large volumes and loaded with buildings, roads, cables. With each double page kids will discover: a train station, a school, a mosque, and finally a thriving city. Ages 4+

Mes maisons du monde

Five children from the five continents invite you to visit their homes: an isba in Russia, a yurt in Mongolia, a hut in Senegal, a house on stilts in Peru, an igloo in Greenland and on the last page, there's a beautiful pop-up home. Short texts in the upper panels of the book present the specificities of each of these houses, built with local materials: wood, textile earth, water and snow. Ages 6-12

Dessine-toi une maison

Children can become architects of a new world by imagining, coloring and decorating houses, buildings, and monuments.  Like Frank Gehry or Le Corbusier kids can imagine new chairs, create a plant house, a funny mailbox or get started in the construction of a bridge between two cliffs and even a hat-shaped house or a spaceship ! Thibaud Herem gives kids the tools to create like real architects. Ages 7-9

Cool architecture

Originally published in English, this French language edition is the answer to these questions: Want to know more about the buildings around you? Can’t tell a Doric from a Corinthian column? Interested in how the Egyptians built the pyramids, and how on earth a dome stays up? Packed with absorbing facts and quirky illustrations, this book tells you everything you need to know about architecture around the world, from the simple dwellings created by the earliest humans to today’s most innovative buildings, via forbidding medieval strongholds, great 18th-Centruy palaces, and the classic Art Deco skyscrapers of New York. Learn about the great architectural movements and the personalities that created them, and explore the most iconic buildings in the world, from the Parthenon in Greece to the (current) world’s tallest skyscraper, the Khalifa Tower in Dubai. Ages 6+

Toutes les maisons sont dans la nature

The next three books are by architect Didier Corneille, whose miniaturist drawings will delight children and adults alike. A roof, two windows, a door: what could be more natural for kids than to take an interest in houses, which they can draw as soon as they know how to hold a pencil? Ten contemporary and spectacular houses designed by great architects who marked the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, are presented in this book which offers children a first look at modern architecture. All ages.

Tous les gratte-ciel sont dans la nature

In this next book it's skyscrapers that are presented, again with  the subtlety and precision that characterizes Didier Cornille's drawings. Here are the most symbolic and imposing skyscrapers of the world from Italy to the Arab Emirates passing by, of course, by the United States. All ages.

Le vaisseau de verre de frank gehry

At the edge of the Jardin d'Acclimatation garden in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, a spectacular contemporary building with transparent roofs resembling wind-blown sails appears above the trees: the Glass Vessel, designed by Frank Gehry. It's the headquarters of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, a contemporary art museum that was inaugurated 2014. In drawings and pop-ups this book will help kids understand the challenges of contemporary architecture. Ages 7+

Dehors dedans ; ce que cachent les façades parisiennes

Parisian monuments offer magnificent facades. But what's behind their splendid walls? This guide reveals the hidden face of twenty of them: half-timbered houses, Notre Dame de Paris, Place Dauphine, the Sully hotel, the Institut de France, the Elysée Palace, the Invalides, City Hall, the Palais de Chaillot, the Georges Pompidou center, among others. Ages 11+

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Isabelle translates and edits articles into English from other languages on the Bookwitty site. She always adds a hyperlink to the original article in her post.

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