Roberto the termite has a big problem. His most desired dream is the complete opposite of what everyone else thinks his life’s purpose should be: he wants to create buildings, not destroy them. Brought to life by beloved children’s author Nina Laden, Roberto the Insect Architect is a wonderfully punny, deeply thoughtful book about one termite’s passionate drive for architecture.
Nina Laden is the author of many acclaimed children’s books, including The Night I Followed The Dog (which was a featured Reading Rainbow book, ) and When Pigasso Met Mootisse (another of our Top 25 Best Kid’s Books picks). Laden writes and illustrates all her books herself, and has been writing children’s books all her life (her first one was called The Unbearable Bird, written when she was only 9).
Nina’s books are laden (see what I did there?) with pop culture references, MUCH to the delight of parents and to the educational advantage of children. In traditional Laden style, this book is uniquely illustrated, featuring a hodge-podge of original insect characters, iconic architecture, and photographed everyday objects. Skylines from Sydney to New York City are woven into the background, and odds-and-ends like a lava lamp, a toilet, and a wedding topper add playfulness to the bustle of the city.
Most interestingly, though, Roberto the Insect Architect teaches children important values in the realm of artistic integrity. Throughout the book, Roberto is turned down time and time again by all his pun-driven heroes: Frank Lloyd Mite, Antonia Gaudi, Fleas Van Der Rohe (yes, seriously). After indulging in a brief-yet-totally-warranted pity party, he realizes that he doesn’t need their blessings in order to see his vision through.
Roberto carves his own path and devours his chance to make a lasting impact in the lives of others. In this story, Laden not only delivers a uniquely charming narrative, but also a strong and inspiring message about following dreams, even if it seems impossi-bug (I just had to get one last one in!).