"Built to last" new addition to children's section
I read many children’s fiction books each year, but now and then a non-fiction title will catch my eye and I just have to take it home to read also. That was the case with the book “Built to Last: Building America’s Amazing Bridges, Dams, Tunnels, and Skyscrapers” by George Sullivan, a new addition to the children’s collection.
Sullivan is a full-time author who has written more than 100 non-fiction books for young people. His interests include history, photography, architecture, and baseball, and the subjects of his many books reflect these varied interests.
“Built to Last” tells the story of the design and construction of seventeen architectural and engineering marvels. It is illustrated with many wonderful photographs, including vertical, double-page spreads of the United States Capitol, the Flatiron Building, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sears Tower, and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Arch.
Sullivan has divided the book into five sections according to time periods in American history: “The Early Republic 1790-1850,” “Invention and Discovery 1850-1910,” “Hard Times 1920-1940,” “A Golden Age 1950-1965,” and “Megaprojects 1990-Present.” I was fascinated reading about the building of such projects as the Erie Canal, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Transcontinental Railroad, Hoover Dam, and the U.S. Interstate Highway System.
If you are interested in learning more about architecture and engineering, there are many other books available in the children’s department as well. The “Smart Structures” series by Julie Richards includes volumes on “Dams,” “Canals and Aqueducts,” “Bridges,” “Tunnels,” “Skyscrapers and Towers,” and “Stadiums and Domes.”
You can read more about how dams are built in “Dams” by Chris Oxlade or “Dams” by Lynn M. Stone. To learn more about a specific famous dam, look for “The Hoover Dam: A Monument of Ingenuity” by Luke S. Gabriel.
There are books about bridges in general, such as Ken Robbins’ book “Bridges” or “Bridges Are to Cross” by Philemon Sturges. You will also find books about specific bridges, such as “The Golden Gate Bridge” by Caroline Arnold and “Brooklyn Bridge” by Lynn Curlee.
How structures are built underground is addressed in “The World of Caves, Mines and Tunnels” by Stephen Hoare, “Tunnels, Tracks, and Trains: Building a Subway” by Joan Hewett, and “Underground” by David Macaulay.
I suppose that the opposite of these titles would be books about very tall buildings, such as “Skyscrapers: How America Grew Up” by John B. Severance, “Skyscrapers Inside and Out” by Leonard M. Joseph, and “Into the Sky” by Ryan Ann Hunter.
Engineers and architects are problem solvers, and these and other books in the children’s department of the library explain how they came up with some ingenious solutions.