Word Wednesday – ‘The Homes We Build’


This Week’s Word Is “Home.”

This week for Word Wednesday, we’re moving away from the fiction of recent weeks to a children’s non-fiction book from our friends at Laurence King publishing. The Homes We Build is a stylized jaunt around the globe looking at habitats, both normal and unusual, from around the world. 

What Is The Homes We Build?

Subtitled “A World of Houses and Habitats,” this book takes a look at houses from all around the planet. It’s separated into themed chapters with each page containing pictures and diagrams that explain the features of various houses and what makes them suited to their purpose. The book is filled with the fabulous and the mundane from palaces and towering skyscrapers to cave dwellings and more functional everyday housing. 

Sections include:

  • Creating shade and keeping cool: Thick walls, narrow streets, white walls, and domes. 
  • Combating the cold: The similarities between staying warm and keeping cold: Swedish Red homes and the “magic” of igloos. 
  • Protecting homes from extreme events: Designing for Earthquakes; old methods and new. How emergency shelters are designed. 
  • Concealed in the landscape: Petra and Cappadoccia. Two wonders on one double page!
  • Creating new landscapes: Le Corbusier and reclaiming land from the sea.
  • Rainbow residences. There are few things more arresting than colored houses. They look amazing in this book
  • Floating homes. Living on the water from Sumeria to Amsterdam.

There are also sections that look at the history of urbanism, the evolutions of skyscrapers, and the history of architects. The book also looks at the cultural meanings of housebuilding, from the superstitions we introduce into our homes to family-tree houses, and recycled homes. Finally, there’s an in-depth look around a traditional Japanese house, which I found fascinating. 

The book is a slender large format hardback of about 70 pages. 

Why Read The Homes We Build?

This is a great book that hits the sweet spot between having enough pictures not to be intimidating with sufficient text to be truly informative. It makes for a very accessible book for children aged around 8 upwards. One that will give them insight into how different people live around the world. It makes the reader think beyond their own four walls; helping them to question their definition of house and what a “home” truly is. 

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I particularly like the graphics style chosen. It’s very clean and doesn’t clutter the pages, illustrating the points made in the text clearly, whilst inviting the reader in to investigate that text in further detail. The book is arranged in an interesting manner too. It may have been more obvious to arrange it geographically, but arranging it thematically, allows readers to appreciate the similarities and differences of abodes from across the globe, as local solutions to similar problems are displayed alongside one another on the page.  

All in all, this a tremendous book. The Homes We Build is strong on visual appeal and packed with useful information. There really is nothing not to like. 

If you want to pick up a copy The Homes We Build you can do so here, in the US and here, in the UK. 

If you enjoyed this review, do check out my other Word Wednesday posts

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to write this review. The US bookshop link is an affiliate link. 


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This post was last modified on August 12, 2020 12:27 am

Robin Brooks

Dad of boys, player of games, and reader of books. GeekDad and one half of Agents of Sigmar. Prone to starting things I can't fin

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