Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Brick: Who Found Herself in Architecture

Brick: Who Found Herself in Architecture

Joshua David Stein
Illustrator:  Julia Rothman 
Picture Book
For ages 5 and up
Phaidon Press, 2018   ISBN: 978-0714876313

When Brick is little she looks at the tall building around her and she is “amazed” by their size and grandeur. Her mother explains that even the biggest and grandest things “begin with small bricks.” When Brick looks around her she realizes that many of the buildings that she sees are indeed made of bricks. She wonders if this is true all over the world. Do little bricks come together to make wonderful buildings everywhere? What kind of building will she be a part of one day?

When she is old enough, Brick sets off to “find her place in the world.” She could just stay in her city and explore that, but Brick wants to see more, and so she leaves the city behind and sets sail in a little boat. She visits castles that are made entirely of brick. They are grand, but they are also places where violence has occurred and she really does not want to live in such a place, so she keeps going.

Brick visits churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples, but none of them “call out to her.” Neither does a huge wall, apartment buildings, houses, and a cottage. Brick wonders if she is every going to find her place in the world. Will she end up being a part of something “great?”

We all have ideas of what we would like to be when we grow up. We dream of being famous, or rich, or powerful, or all three of these things at the same time. If we are lucky we learn that being “great” can mean all kinds of things. It can even mean that we are a very small part of something big and wonderful.

This delightful picture book introduces us to the idea that finding our place in the world is all about being true to who we are. It is not really about living a dream that we think is the right dream to have. The charming main character is indeed just a brick, but she is a strong, thoughtful, and wise brick who learns how to listen to her heart.

At the back of the book the author provides his readers with further information about the architectural marvels that are featured in the story. These include the Great Wall of China and Saint Basil’s Cathedral.