The first time I say Building Our House by Jonathan Bean I was at Cover to Cover, my favorite bookstore in Columbus, and my friend Beth had included it in a stack of things she told me I needed to see. Working my way through the stack, I gave it a look, but not the detailed look a great book like this deserves. As I work my way through the ALSC Notable Nominee List I'm re-reading some titles that deserve a second or even third look!
Building Our House makes this list of "look again" titles. Based on real life events, told through the author's older sister's eyes, it takes the reader from an empty weedy field purchased from a farmer. After moving a trailer for temporary housing onto the property, the building begins. Step by step, the timber-frame house takes shape and 5 years of labor is condensed into a wonderful short story of hard work and family. The illustrations only add to the short text and make the story even more detailed.
There will be a lot of uses for this title in the classroom. It's a how to book, it's a personal narrative and literary non-fiction. It will make a wonderful mentor text for a lot of writing.