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Children's Fiction Architecture

Carmen and the House That Gaudí Built

by (author) Susan Hughes

illustrated by Marianne Ferrer

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2021
Architecture, New Experience, Europe
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 8
  • Grade: k to 5


A joyful celebration of the nature-inspired work of architect Antoni Gaudí
Carmen Batlló and Dragon, her imaginary salamander friend, love exploring the woods behind their home. But when Carmen’s family announces a move to the city, Carmen is miserable. Not only will she lose her connection to nature, she will also lose Dragon. After all, the city is no place for salamanders.
As she watches her family’s new house take shape under famous architect Antoni Gaudí, Carmen discovers Gaudí also has a passion for the natural world. Walls curve and rise like a cave, mosaic flooring sparkles like lilies on a pond, and a fireplace shaped like a mushroom keeps the house warm. Best of all, there’s even a place for Dragon!
Inspired by the real Batlló family and the house Gaudí designed for them, this picture book encourages readers to find inspiration in their surroundings and keep their hearts open to change. Stunning watercolor illustrations bring Gaudí’s inventive designs to life. An author’s note provides more information about the real story behind the house and Gaudí’s lifelong passion for nature.

About the authors


Susan Hughes
a étudié la littérature anglaise à l'Université de Toronto. Depuis, elle
écrit et publie des livres pour enfants, à la fois des fictions et des
documentaires. Elle habite avec sa famille à Toronto.


Susan Hughes studied English literature at the University of Toronto. She writes both fiction and non-fiction children's books. She lives with her family in Toronto.

Susan Hughes' profile page

Originaire du Venezuela, Marianne Ferrer a immigré au Canada en 1998. Après avoir étudié l’illustration et le design au cégep Dawson à Montréal, elle a poursuivi ses études en design graphique à l’Université du Québec à Montréal, où elle habite toujours. Marianne a illustré de nombreux ouvrages, notamment Toucania (Monsieur Ed), Mel and Mo's Marvelous Balancing Act (Annick Press) et The Invisible Garden (Orca)Son style est empreint de charme, de délicatesse et de profondeur.


Marianne Ferrer's profile page


  • Commended, A Quill & Quire Best Book of the Year
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens

Editorial Reviews

"This lavishly illustrated title will be enjoyed by adults as well as children."

Joyce's Mystery and Fiction Book Reviews

"The text successfully combines Carmen’s anxiety with information about Gaudí to create a solid, relatable story. Ferrer’s illustrations... fully encompass Gaudí’s and Carmen’s love and respect for nature. Details such as attire, vehicles, and writing implements gently place the story in time while the characters’ thoughts and emotions render it timeless... This fictional look at the creation of an artistic landmark works as a solid introduction to Gaudí and to the influence of nature on his work."

School Library Journal

"The book succeeds on multiple levels: as a relatable story of a child managing change, an emotive introduction to Gaudí's style, and, for architecture fans, a colorful history of Casa Batlló."

Quill & Quire

"Reminds us that the two worlds, indoors and out, should not be separate, and that magic happens when the two meet."

CanLit for Little Canadians

"Watercolor illustrations by Marianne Ferrer, capturing the jewel-like feel of Gaudí’s work, are fantastically lush and exuberant here – a perfect match to Susan Hughes’ lovely, expressive storytelling."

Fab Book Reviews

"A fictionalized origin story of a real architectural marvel... A jumping-off point about Casa Battló."

Kirkus Reviews

"Ferrer’s illustrations succeed wonderfully at emphasizing the connection between the natural world and Gaudi’s designs."

Youth Services Book Review

Other titles by Susan Hughes

Other titles by Marianne Ferrer