Top 10 Architecture Books for Preschoolers

Great Books About Architecture and Engineering for Children Aged 4+

A child is never too young to begin learning about buildings and design. Written for preschoolers and beginning readers, these picture books and simple storybooks lay the foundation for understanding and appreciating the world of architecture. We become aware of our environment at a very young age.

Kids of all shapes and sizes (and ages) love construction. This 2014 book by French authors Anne-Sophie Baumann and Didier Balicevic has tabs and twirls and is a feast for little eyes and big imaginations. It may have too many small parts for children under age 3, but, rest assured, alternative titles exist.

More Books About Construction:

  • Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard, 2016
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  • A Year at a Construction Site by Nicholas Harris, 2009
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  • Construction: A-Lift-the-Flap-Book from Playtown Roger Priddy, 2015
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  • The Construction Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta, 2006
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  • Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres and Christian Slade, 2014
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  • Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld, 2011
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This book by Andrea Beaty has become a phenomenon—award-winning and many weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Rosie is the main character in this "Abrams Book for Young Readers." One Amazon.com reviewer said, "This book is as much for mommies and daddies as their little ones." The detailed illustrations by David Roberts bring home Rosie's message: "The only true failure can come if you quit."  Published by Harry N. Abrams, 2013. Pair this book with its "big project" activity book for "bold engineers."

More by Andrea Beaty:

Author Gail Gibbons combines bright pictures with easy text to describe the construction of a house. Small tots will learn about the important role of the surveyor, the heavy machinery operators, the carpenters, the plumbers, and other workers. Published by Holiday House, 1996.

Author/illustrator Steven Guarnaccia has recreated the three little pigs from the classic fairy tale as architects who must outwit a greedy wolf. After drawing numerous sketches and renderings, Guarnaccia's pigs build modernist masterpieces. Published by Abrams in 2010.

More by Guarnaccia:

  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears: A Tale Moderne, 2000
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From the "Around the World Series," this 32-page photo-essay by Ann Morris and Ken Heyman lets beginning readers visit all types of homes, from a simple straw hut to the Buckingham Palace. A map and an index encourage further learning. This book may be dated in the eyes of adults and older kids, but real photos can complement the many illustrated books out there. Published by HarperCollins, 1995.

More Books About Homes:

For younger children, a delightful alphabet book with twenty-six line drawings of architectural details such as brackets, columns, dormers, eaves, and, yes, zigzags. Simple definitions accompany each illustration by Roxie Munro. Published by Wiley, 1986.

Simple words and color drawings by Byron Barton let children follow, step by step, the construction of a house. This high-interest 32-page paperback book has also been used to teach adults English as a Second Language (ESL). Published by Greenwillow Books, 1990.

You can change the world with an idea. The main character, a child, has personified his idea as an egg-like creature. "This is MY idea, I thought. No one knows it like I do...I decided to protect it, to care for it. I fed it good food. I worked with it, I played with it. But most of all, I gave it my attention." Written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom, this intriguing tale of imagination, courage, and confidence is for anyone willing to take on the care and feeding of an idea. Architects have to do it all the time. Published by Compendium, 2014.

For the hardworking architect parent, reading Nina Laden's book as a bedtime story may be deeply satisfying—both amusing for the child and revealing to all of us insect architects. Published by Chronicle Books, 2000.

Imagining the needs of a homeowner can be a long, slow process for adults. For kids it's a piece of cake. Who knew you needed a Racetrack Room? Author / illustrator Chris Van Dusen has become a rock star to the younger set, and this book of rhymes, gouache watercolors, and spunky characters tells us why. Published by Dial Books, 2012.