Skip to Main Content

Gaudi - Architect of Imagination

Illustrated by Linda Schwalbe
Published by NorthSouth Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Let your dreams can change the world in this Bank Street Best Book of 2023 picture book biography of architect Antoni Gaudí!

Colorful mosaics, playful flowing forms, imaginative facades—Barcelona shines with the buildings of Antoni Gaudí. How did the son of a Catalan blacksmith become a world-famous architect? The first years of Gaudí's life were challenging. Because of an illness, young Gaudí couldn’t attend school and was often alone. Many of his days were spent out in nature, which he would later call his great teacher. Even during his training as an architect in Barcelona, his teachers were puzzled, wondering: is he a “genius or a fool?” Many considered his unusual ideas eccentric, sometimes even crazy. But Gaudí was simply ahead of his time. His buildings are now a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site.

With an insightful eye into the world of an inspired genius, award-winning author Susan B. Katz tells of Gaudí's life and work. Linda Schwalbe's dazzling and powerful illustrations reflect the inventive, daring, and flamboyant style of Gaudí's work.

About The Author

Susan B. Katz is an award-winning Spanish bilingual author/illustrator, National Board Certified Teacher, and literacy specialist. She has published over 20 books, including The Story of Ruth Bader GinsburgFrida Kahlo, and Meditation Station. She also launched and ran Facebook and Instagram's author vertical. Susan lived and worked in Spain, and studied ceramics there. She later turned two boxes of broken ceramics into a mosaic business, inspired by Gaudí's masterpieces. She lives near San Francisco, CA. Find out more about her at

About The Illustrator

Linda Schwalbe studied illustration at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle and at the Berlin University of the Arts. Inspired by discoveries and adventures, music and nature, she is happiest painting with acrylics. She is the author/illustrator of Ida and the World Beyond Mount Kaiserzipf and the illustrator of Gaudi–Architect of Imagination, and a winner of the prestigious Serafina Award. She lives and works in Leipzig, Germany. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: NorthSouth Books (June 7, 2022)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780735844872
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

"A stunning introduction to the life of innovative architect Antoni Gaudi. Beautifully colored pages are filled with curves and geometric shapes that guide readers through the decades of Gaudi’s life. The pictures flow one to the other just like Gaudi’s creations curve and sparkle. Close attention reveals charming details and additional information.This literary biography is at home in the art, architecture, or biography sections of any library. It will surely pique interest in this genius and inspire visits to Gaudi’s creations, if only online." STARRED REVIEW

– School Library Journal

A Spanish boy with “wobbly legs” grows up to be an architect known for his curved and broken lines. In this picture-book biography, readers learn that Antonio Gaudí (1852-1926) didn’t follow in the footsteps of his father, a metalsmith, because he “had an illness that made it hard for him to walk.” Instead, as a child, he rode a donkey around the Catalan countryside, admiring the shapes and curves of the world around him. Educated as an architect, he began to make art and construct buildings that incorporated those curves and broken lines. With the support of a patron Count Escubí Güell, he designed and supervised the construction of houses, a park, and even a cathedral in Barcelona. Work continues on La Sagrada Família cathedral even today. Katz, who is also an artist whose own mosaic art reflects Gaudí’s influence, has written a smoothly flowing overview of the architect’s life, giving prominence to his patron’s support and incorporating a few direct but unsourced quotations. She concludes with a schematic map showing Gaudí’s major buildings in Barcelona and a short afterword. Schwalbe’s stylized acrylic paintings are lively and engaging, full of curves, fantastic shapes, and surprising colors. They nicely reflect Gaudí’s work and would show well in a storytime. A solid biography of an important artist.

– Kirkus Reviews

Architect Antoni Gaudí, a Spanish boy “with wobbly legs” who “felt different from everyone else,” transformed his childhood observations about nature into breathtaking architectural marvels. His life is celebrated in this admiring and eccentric picture-book biography, which opens with Gaudí’s artistic and infirm youth, covers his university training, and surveys several of the most notable mosaics Gaudí designed. Several open-ended threads in the text may raise questions among inquisitive readers, while sophisticated vocabulary (undulating, grandiose) will suit a more-advanced audience. The book includes a map placing 10 Gaudí masterpieces around Barcelona, quotes (without sources) from Gaudí, and an endnote with additional biographical details. A supplemental pick for STEAM and biographical collections.

– Booklist

"This is a remarkably interpretive depiction of a genius builder/architect. Gaudi comes to life on the page"

– Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books

Gaudi is the story of Antoni Gaudi, a Spanish architect and artist well known for this UNESCO world heritage site buildings in Barcelona. The beautiful, somewhat abstract, very unique illustrations are beautiful and very inviting. This book, and the story within it, are both the true definition of STEAM, Science/Math meet Art. As a grade 3 teacher, I would definitely consider purchasing a copy of this book for my classroom library. The text is probably too difficult for most early years students to read themselves, but I could see reading this story to my class or using it with upper elementary students. I think that the illustrations are the perfect for inspiring children to create their own art. I would definitely recommend this book to teachers and families of children in the 5-12 age range. The number of connections to curricular content are infinite and the story itself is inspirational.

– Teach Read Inspire Blog

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this illustrator: Linda Schwalbe