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Children's Nonfiction Architecture

Why Humans Build Up

The Rise of Towers, Temples and Skyscrapers

by (author) Gregor Craigie

illustrated by Kathleen Fu

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Architecture, City & Town Life, Symbols, Monuments, National Parks, etc., Environmental Conservation & Protection
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    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


“This great STEAM offering has multiple applications and will be useful for report writers and aspiring architects alike.”—Booklist, starred review

“Finely detailed inside and outside...Broad in scope, perceptively organized, and enriched with fascinating entries.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Why did they build it so high?

People have been constructing tall buildings for thousands of years, for many different reasons. Castle walls kept people safe. Utility towers transmit TV and cell-phone signals. Observatories give people a bird’s-eye view of the world. Beautiful buildings stand out in the crowd. Skyscrapers provide housing for a lot of people. There are some good reasons for building up, and a few bad ones as well.

With a growing global population, we will need more and more space to live, learn and work in. But what does that mean for the health of the planet? Can we do it sustainably? Tall buildings may be part of the answer. From the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the Burj Khalifa and the Shanghai Tower, Why Humans Build Up asks why and how we build higher and higher, and what that means for the planet.

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

Kathleen Fu is a Canadian illustrator based in Toronto with a background in fine art, architecture and urban design. She is a graduate of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and her current work is heavily inspired by her time studying architecture, city life and storytelling. She enjoys creating intricate illustrations with a Where’s Waldo-esque style, injecting each piece with as many unique characters and different shapes as possible. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Reader’s Digest, the Globe and Mail, The Walrus and many other publications.


Kathleen Fu's profile page


  • Nominated, Young Readers' Choice Book Awards of British Columbia (YRCABC) Red Cedar Book Awards
  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award
  • Nominated, Red Cedar Book Award
  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award
  • Nominated, Forest of Reading Yellow Cedar Award
  • Short-listed, Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids and Teens, starred review

Editorial Reviews

“One of the best of the genre of non-fiction books written to engage and educate readers of all ages...Fu’s colourful drawings add just the right touch of humour to prevent the text from becoming overwhelming…The right book at the right time for critical thinkers of all ages. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

★“This great STEAM offering has multiple applications and will be useful for report writers and aspiring architects alike.”

Booklist, starred review

“Readers can capture the excitement and awe of humanity’s engineering prowess…Be inspired to see what the future holds in ‘building up’.”

Children's Literature

“Recommended as an asset for both school and public libraries. Students who are ­fascinated by history and architecture will especially enjoy this book.”

School Library Journal

“Thoughtful and appealing…A worthwhile and welcome addition to all library and individual connections.”

Canadian Children's Book News

“Full of fun and interesting facts. It will hook readers, especially aspiring engineers.”

Time for Kids

★ “Finely detailed inside and outside...Broad in scope, perceptively organized, and enriched with fascinating entries.”

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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