Read On!

Mrs. Farquharson’s musings about books for children and young adults

Simon Rodia and his Watts Towers


It’s exciting when a book introduces children and adults to a person or event that is totally new to them. Author Dianna Hutts Aston wrote Dream Something Big: The Story of the Watts Towers (Dial, 2011). She chronicles Simon Rodia’s 34 year project of building his glorious creation without architectural plans, nails, bolts, or even a ladder. Susan L. Roth’s collage illustrations demonstrate using found materials in art, just as Rodia did.

Simon Rodia worked on his project seven days a week on a tiny lot in Watts, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. He was an Italian immigrant who spoke heavily accented English, when he explained that he wanted “To make a pretty scenery, I think. And make that place famous.” He constructed the towers of steel pipes and cement, then added shells, bottles, crockery, plumbing supplies, and any object that he could find on the street. This man of little education built an amazing monument that is now preserved as a National Landmark.


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