As an architect and mother, I always try to teach my children about their neighborhood and the city in which they live. I’m sure I bore them most of the time, but I know that some of my talks are absorbed.
Both of my children are growing up with an interest in architecture and design. I know, living in New York City makes discussing architecture easy, but truthfully, no matter where you live, if you are looking up and discussing what you see, architecture can be inspiring at any age!
To help my cause, I also collect children’s architecture and design books. The following authors have done an amazing job inspiring my family. Not only do they introduce ideas, design and history but they do it in a fun and offbeat way.
Some of our favorites:
The Three Little Pigs, Written and Illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia
The three little pigs are portrayed by Frank Gehry, Phillip Johnson and Frank Lloyd Wright. Famous architects that every little designer should know. The first little pig, Frank Gehry, builds his famous 1978 house of “scraps” and is blown down by the big bad wolf. Phillip Johnson, the second little pig, builds his celebrated glass house and it is smashed. Finally, Frank Lloyd Wright builds one of his most famed homes, “Falling Water,” of stone and concrete and the wolf is finally defeated. The illustrations are wonderful as are the little architectural design details found throughout the book.
One of the more well know kid’s building books is Iggy Peck Architect written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts. The wonderful writing in this book is the real hook. It is an amazing rhyming book that is witty and funny to both adults and children. The drawings by David Roberts are wonderful with beautiful graphics and original design work.
It is my favorite book for reading to the elementary school classes and always the best gift for my teachers. I even end my kid’s walking tours, with a cookie shaped and decorated like the Empire State Building and a reading of Iggy Peck!
The last book on my list today is Doodle New York by Violet Lemay and Puck Illustrations. It is a “fill-in” drawing book full of whimsical graphics that enhance rather than contain a child’s imagination. The drawings are simple but still structured and tell a great NYC story. This is my daughter’s favorite book. Check out one of her creations!
All three of these books can be purchased at
But other great places to purchase these books and other great design items are:
The American Institute of Architects:
The Museum of Modern Art: