Art, Books, Current Events, Reviews

Dream Builder: From Kid Artist to Wonderful Builder of Dreams

Today’s post features a book review for Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon; an introduction to a STEAM role model in the African American community, as well as to others.

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The Book: Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon

Book Info

Dream Builder

Title: Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon
Author: Kelly Starling Lyons 
Illustrator: Laura Freeman
Length: 40 pages
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction/STEAM, Multicultural Biographies (4 – 9 years, and up)
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (January 14th 2020)

Description (GoodReads)

Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon celebrates a contemporary black STEAM role model, a man whose quiet work enabled the creation of an iconic building reflecting America’s past and future. With a stirring text by Kelly Starling Lyons, vibrant pictures by Laura Freeman, and an afterword from Philip Freelon himself, it is sure to inspire the next generation of dreamers and builders.

My Thoughts

Nonfiction books constantly amaze and astound me! I learn something new, discover cool facts, and more importantly, discover inspiring people from all walks of life. Philip Freelon is one such hero who definitely deserves more recognition.

The Narrative

Kelly Starling Lyon’s use of present tense narrative brings forth a sense of action; it lets readers into the pages to go on Freelon’s journey from the little kid artist in Philly to the wonderful builder of dreams he later became.

(Philip Freelon passed away in July 2019, shortly after he wrote the afterword for this book)

I loved how Lyon talks about Freelon’s struggles with reading, and how he overcomes the same once he discovers his strengths. And we learn how he embraces those very same talents in art, math, and science to become an architect.

In addition to those early learning struggles, Freelon also overcame the hurdles that racism threw at him. We watch as Freelon graduates from sketching his friends and family to becoming the lead architect for the NMAAHC.

NMAAHC: National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Illustrations

Laura Freeman’s illustrations are bold, colorful, and detailed. At the same time, she adds touches of whimsy and realism; numbers that float to become formulae, and letters that confound; architectural renderings of some of the buildings designed by Freelon; and other such little details, that lend to, and tell more of the story.

And Then

The not-to-be-missed backmatter includes an afterword from Philip Freelon along with photographs, an author’s note, and a bibliography.

I truly love how this book can provide inspiration to young readers who might struggle in some areas; it shows that everyone has their own strengths and if they persevere, they can accomplish their dreams.

In Summary

An inspiring read for all young readers, even more so for those with a love of architecture!

Get It Here

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Dream Builder: From Kid Artist to Wonderful Builder of Dreams
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Fact For the Day

Black History Month Fact:

From a dream in people’s minds in 1915 to having a building commission appointed for it by President Herbert Hoover in 1929 to finally being opened on Sept. 24, 2016, in a ceremony led by President Barack Obama, the NMAAHC was a century long dream come true!

And Now, the End of this Post

Dear reader, what are your thoughts on this book? Have you read this or other similar books? Any recommendations for me. And do let me know if this book intrigues you and/or if you plan to read it.

27 thoughts on “Dream Builder: From Kid Artist to Wonderful Builder of Dreams

  1. Thanks for sharing! I just realized having two girls makes me always concentrate on the books about girl power, and the history of powerful women etc. Maybe it’s time to pick up a book about a great man? 🙂

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