A unique, poignant tale about loss, longing and remembering our loved ones. Having them always in our hearts.

The Building Boy shared a special bond with his grandma. “Each night before the boy went to bed, he would light the fire. He would squeeze beside Grandma on her favourite chair. The house would be quiet, except for the turning of a page and the ticking of a clock.” Already fallen in love? Well, that’s only the beginning. Grandma was a skilled architect. She was planning the perfect house for her grandson, but “Grandma was getting old—too old to make houses,” and sadly passed. The boy dealt with this loss by building an iron giant Grandma. Through wind, snow and rain he worked, until iron Grandma awoke. In a single bound, she took the boy on a journey. “They flew at a sprint over moonlit fields, leaping over hedges, scattering the hares,” to a house on a hill. The house the boy’s grandma had begun building for him. All it needed was a heart.

This book is all heart. It makes the heart beat, brake, burn. Pulls on those heartstrings and directs us inward to think of those who guide us, care for us, who make our world something special, and the legacy they leave behind. As you can tell from the example text shared above, The Building Boy is beautifully written. Another of my favourite paragraphs, “Soon, a city rose out of the water. Grandma flung herself straight onto the rooftops. A forest of streetlamps and skyscrapers flew beneath them.” Litchfield’s illustrations are detailed and exquisite, with flickers of light and texture. Colours are warm when Grandma is alive, and soften, cool upon her death. Iron Grandma and boy take their journey at night, amongst the stars and twinkling lights of the city—perfectly embodying the magic of the moment.


  • Published by Faber & Faber
  • 4-8 years
  • 5