Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Fridays, where we review picture books which we deem worthy of mention. This concept was created by Susanna Hill, and is a helpful resource for librarians, teachers and parents. For a list of all books reviewed so far, along with activities to complement them, click here.
Illustrator: Miles Hyman
Age Range: 7 and up
Themes: Architects, Architecture, Biography of Women, Professions, Realizing one's dreams.
Inside flap: At a time when most girls weren't encouraged to think beyond running homes of their own, Julia Morgan dreamed of building them. But in the late nineteenth century, it was almost unheard of for a woman to become an architect. Julia fought to become one anyway, breaking down countless barriers with quiet strength, determination, and talent.
...During a long and extraordinary career, she designed almost eight hundred buildings, including newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst's magnificent castle, San Simeon. With exquisite illustrations, this is the story of a practical woman who never lost sight of her dreams.
First lines: "Julia Morgan loved to build. Born in 1872, Julia was raised in the small California town of Oakland, on San Francisco Bay. Little Julia preferred jumping on the trampoline in her family's barn and chasing her brothers to playing with dolls and having tea parties."
Why I like this book: While I would never encourage a woman to have a career instead of marriage and a family (the highest calling for a women), I love to hear success stories of women who dreamed a big dream, and realized it. Where would we be without ladies such as Florence Nightingale, Betsy Ross, and Molly Pitcher? I love the detailed account of Julia's life, and the tidbits of information at the end about her and the history of San Simeon which were not included in the text. The author also shares her account of how she came to write this book...a plus for picture book authors!
Links to activities relating to the book:
About Julia Morgan, architect, here.
History of Hearst Castle as it relates to Julia Morgan, here.
Lesson plans relating to architecture in general, here.
Quotes by Julia Morgan, here.