[Nonfiction Wednesday] Palaces, Cave Dwellings, House on Stilts in “If You Lived Here: Houses Of The World”

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Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2016 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.

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I have been seeing this nonfiction title shared by quite a number of kidlit friends, but it is only now that I managed to hunt it down from our library. It is quite well-worn and tattered by now, as I assume that this is a fairly popular title, I had to reserve it to get my hands on it.

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If You Lived Here: Houses Of The World

Written and Illustrated by: Giles Laroche
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011 ISBN: 0547238924 (ISBN13: 9780547238920) Book Awards: NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2012, Geography/People/Places
Borrowed a copy from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

There are only sixteen different types of home introduced in this picturebook, yet somehow I felt like I traveled the world a bit just by feasting my eyes on various houses – from a palace with a drawbridge and a moat in La Brede, France – to humble cave dwellings in Andalucia, Spain:

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While the art is meticulously crafted, the text also happens to be engaging, as it invites the reader to imagine what it is like to live in a place like this:

If you lived here, your bedroom would be inside a mountain. The front of your house, with its windows and doors, would hide the fact that your home is actually a cave dwelling.

The text is not over-the-top or unnecessarily wordy, nor does it simplify the complex nature of the home. It also provides very helpful information such as:  (1) house type, (2) materials, (3) location, (4) date, and (5) fascinating facts. My favourites are the following:

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A beautiful house in Venice, and…

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… a decorated house of Ndebele in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa. I like how the history of the inhabitants is seen in their house design: such craftsmanship, rootedness, and celebration of art and beauty.

For teachers who wish to use this in the classroom, I found this highly detailed 28-paged Unit Plan on “The Best Place” that makes use of this particular picturebook along with so many others that explore the same theme. Definitely worth checking out.

And to add a little sparkle into your life, here is Beyonce’s performance of I Was Here – a United Nations World Humanitarian Day Performance Video – showing how you can make a little bit of a difference simply by being here.

  1. One of my favorite books, ever! Illustrations are so inviting – makes you want to step right inside the book! Thank you for sharing!

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  2. What a neat concept for a book! The illustrations are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing!

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