programs

Build a House with Rhiannon Giddens

Thursday, October 13

Join us for a picture book reading, signing, and Q&A with Build a House author and Grammy-award winning musician Rhiannon Giddens.

“A stunning, honest, yet age-appropriate depiction of historical injustice.”
– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

About the Book

African Americans were forcibly enslaved and brought to this land to build houses they were not allowed to live in, tend to families who were not their own, and sow the seeds that fed a nation – while being left with only scraps themselves. They were not expected to thrive. But they did.

In her picture book debut from Candlewick Press, MacArthur Fellowship recipient and Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens depicts a family’s resilience in the face of violence and sorrow. They are determined not just to survive, but also to tell their own story.

Based on the song “Build A House,” composed for the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth and performed with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Giddens’s stirring text is paired with moving illustrations by Monica Mikai. Build a House confronts the history of slavery in America by telling the story of a courageous people who would not be moved and the music that sustained them through untold challenges. Steeped in sorrow and joy, resilience and resolve, turmoil and transcendence, this dramatic debut offers a proud view of history and a vital message for readers of all ages: honor your heritage, express your truth, and let your voice soar, even—or perhaps especially—when your heart is heaviest.

Build a House is out on October 11, 2022.