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Children's Nonfiction Architecture

Wild Buildings and Bridges

Architecture Inspired by Nature

by (author) Etta Kaner

illustrated by Carl Wiens

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2018
Architecture, Inventions, Physics
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2018
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7
  • Reading age: 8 to 12


From cactuses to birds' wings, termite towers to honeycombs, this book celebrates more than thirty examples of nature's influence on building and bridge designs all over the world. In some instances, architects looked to nature to solve structural problems, like creating an earthquake-proof bridge by mimicking the long roots of a type of grass known for stabilizing riverbanks. Other examples show how nature provides artistic inspiration, like the famous buildings designed by Frank Gehry that evoke the beauty of moving fish. The incredible structures in this book prove that nature and architecture are perfect partners! Sidebar biographies tell us more about these famous architects who have used nature to spectacular effect in their designs. Fun activities throughout add an interactive element, with step-by-step instructions for science experiments and a design-your-own-structure activity.

Award-winning author Etta Kaner combines science and art in this unique look at nature's influence on architecture and design. The emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking make it an excellent choice for science and technology lessons on structures, mechanisms and engineering. The book could also be used for studying earth science and the environment, as it promotes sustainability and eco-friendly structures. Detailed and eye-catching illustrations by award-winning artist Carl Wiens help make the concepts clear and easy to understand. This book will fascinate budding architects and makers who love building and learning how things work. Includes a glossary, resources, author's sources and an index.

About the authors


ETTA KANER est une ex-enseignante. De nos jours, elle écrit principalement des documentaires pour les enfants et les éducateurs. Plusieurs de ses livres ont été primés; elle a notamment remporté le Silver Birch Award, le Animal Behavior Society Award et le Science in Society Book Award. Etta vit à Toronto, en Ontario.


ETTA KANER writes for both children and educators. A number of her books have won awards, namely, the Silver Birch award, the Animal Behaviour Society award, and the Science in Society book award. Etta lives in Toronto, Ontario.


Etta Kaner's profile page

Carl Wiens is an award-winning illustrator and printmaker who teaches illustration at Sheridan College. His work has appeared in children's books and publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine. Carl lives in Belleville, Ontario.

Carl Wiens' profile page


  • Short-listed, Red Cedar Award, BC Young Reader's Choice Awards
  • Short-listed, Information Book Award, Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable
  • Winner, Best Books for Kids and Teens, starred selection, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Short-listed, Youth Book Award, Science Writers and Communicators of Canada
  • Short-listed, Lane Anderson Award, Fitzhenry Family Foundation
  • Unknown, Eureka! Nonfiction Children's Book Award, California Reading Association

Editorial Reviews

An eye-opening survey for makers and observers alike.—Kirkus Reviews

An essential STEM addition that will inspire the curiosity of budding architects ...—School Library Journal

Expertly designed, engaging and interactive ...—CM Magazine

Other titles by Etta Kaner

Other titles by Carl Wiens