“Why did they make it so high?” one of journalist Gregor Craigie’s sons asked him, sparking the inspiration for his new book, Why Humans Build Up: The Rise of Towers, Temples and Skyscrapers. Illustrated by Kathleen Fu, this nonfiction book for children aged 9 to 12 seeks to answer Craigie’s son’s question.
As it turns out, the answer isn’t so simple. People have been constructing tall buildings for thousands of years, for many different reasons. Craigie begins by explaining the very basic human need for security—castle walls kept people safe. He then details various other motivations—utility towers transmit TV and cell-phone signals and beautiful buildings stand out in the crowd. Craigie ends with the most pressing need for making tall buildings today: sustainability. With a rapidly rising global population, there is increasing pressure to expand cities outward into surrounding wild spaces—the forests and farmlands needed for food, wildlife habitat and climate control. Tall buildings can help ease that pressure by allowing cities to grow up, not out.
Why Humans Build Up is Craigie’s first book for kids.
Praise for Why Humans Build Up:
★ “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
“One of the best of the genre of non-fiction books written to engage and educate readers of all ages…The right book at the right time for critical thinkers of all ages. Highly Recommended.” –CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“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
About the Author and Illustrator:
Gregor Craigie is a writer and journalist. He wakes up at 3:45 every weekday morning to talk on CBC Radio in Victoria, British Columbia. Despite the early hours, Gregor loves his job because he gets to ask questions and write for a living. Before his current job at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he worked for the BBC World Service in London and traveled to several different countries, telling stories for radio listeners. Gregor is available for interviews.
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.