Educate To Life - Montessori Notes

A journey through the Twentieth Century:
The House
[Casa del Tempo]

The House is a stunning book by Italian artist Roberto Innocenti, published in 2009 by Creative Editions in English (words by J. Patrick Lewis) and Italian (words by Roberto Piumini), in association with La Margherita Edizioni.
I checked both editions before choosing which one to read to my daughter, because I knew that there could be slightly different cultural references. The Italian narration is more detailed (which I decided to prefer) while the English one is more synthetic and evocative.
It's difficult and maybe pointless trying to talk about this book with words, Roberto Innocenti's art speaks for itself.
The first person narrator is a Seventeenth-century Italian farmhouse on the Apennine mountains, taking us on a journey through the 20th Century. 
Initially in ruins, the House will be renovated, lived, loved and abandoned several times, witnessing two World Wars. Through the seasons, the House hosts generations, life and death, laughter and sorrow until the new century comes to steal somehow its identity and its memory, starting a new life cycle.
The scenery is exactly the same in each double page, and the house sits still. However, it feels like a living thing as we look at the movements of its stones and of the people around it.
Innocenti achieves the sense of movement and stillness at the same time.
This, together with the incredible amount of detail, makes it deeply engaging at any reading level.
The House is in fact a perfect book to talk about history to primary school children, the illustrations are exceptionally beautiful and detailed, which makes this book accessible to preschoolers as well on a different reading level.
While younger readers will focus on the changes of season and scenery, older readers will be able to grasp historical references connecting words and images.
An incredibly valuable book that should sit in any school library and that is conceived to be read multiple times. 
Not easily classified as fiction or non-fiction because of the outstanding level of the illustrations and of its lyric narration , The House just sits in the world of art.

Roberto innocenti received the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2008 of IBBY for his contribution to children's literature, the most important international recognition given to authors and illustrators.
You can read his inspiring acceptance speech here
The House [Casa del Tempo] [2009]
Art by Roberto Innocenti
English Edition by Creative Editions
Words by J.Patrick Lewis
Italian Edition by La Margherita 
Words by Roberto Piumini
Reading age 6+
Themes: 20th Century History, Art

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