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Children's Nonfiction Architecture


The Long History of Human Barriers and Why We Build Them

by (author) Gregor Craigie

illustrated by Arden Taylor

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Mar 2024
Architecture, Symbols, Monuments, National Parks, etc., Emigration & Immigration, Politics & Government
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2024
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2024
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


Building walls that separate us from others is as old as humanity.

People have built walls to keep others out for thousands of years, from the Great Wall of China to Hadrian's Wall to security fences along the US-Mexico border. But did you know they've also been built to keep people in, to grow food, to control nature and to collect taxes? Sometimes they've helped people and kept communities safe, but they've also created inequity and done more harm than good. Why do we have walls at all?

Walls: the Long History of Human Barriers and Why We Build Them explores the many reasons humanity has put up walls over the course of our history, and why we continue building them today.

The epub edition of this title is fully accessible.

About the authors

Gregor Craigie is a friendly public radio journalist, currently hosting CBC Radio One’s On the Island in Victoria, BC. He is generally well-liked and known for being fair, but will occasionally push people on political and social issues – while maintaining his manners, of course. Inspired by his interest in earthquakes, Craigie’s non-fiction book On Borrowed Time was a finalist for the inaugural Writers’ Trust Balsillie Prize for Public Policy. In an effort to stay healthy and as a tiny offering in the fight against climate change, Craigie bikes to work daily.

Gregor Craigie's profile page

Arden Taylor is a freelance illustrator residing in Toronto, Ontario. She graduated Sheridan College with an Honours Bachelor of Illustration. She enjoys working with beautiful color palettes to create visually appealing, fun and sophisticated graphic illustrations of architecture, people, wallpaper, patterns and more. Her clients include Hazlitt Magazine and the California Institute of Technology. Arden's work has been featured in magazines, newspapers, advertising campaigns and websites. The Kids Book of Black History in Canada is her first book.

Arden Taylor's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Building walls and often tearing them down is a part of the world's history. Sometimes they have helped; other times they have been a hindrance. Why do we have them? If you really want to know, this is a grand place to start.”

Sal's Fiction Addiction

“Conveys an abundance of information about unique locations across the globe…An attractive purchase for larger collections or populations interested in understanding the history of walls, geography, and the human tendency to build barriers.”

School Library Journal

“This is one of those specialized STEAM offerings that takes a seemingly mundane subject—walls—and turns it into an international survey of ancient through modern-day structures, bringing in elements of architecture, engineering, agriculture, economy, and problem-solving…This colorful and inviting offering fills a void and makes for great middle-school world history curriculum support while shoring up STEAM collections.”


“Provides a fascinating look at some of the different walls built over history, who built them, and why they were built. Walls provides a foundation on the topic for young readers and will be an excellent stepping stone for readers who want to learn more. Highly recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“This thoroughly researched and well-written book will aid young readers in understanding how our society came to be, while looking at current systems from different perspectives. For any young person interested in learning more about the history of our world, exploring why humanity has put up barriers as we have evolved and why we continue this tradition, they couldn't ask for a better resource.”

BC BookWorld

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