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The Story of the Watts Towers

August 22, 2011

Dream Something Big
The Story of the Watts Towers

written by  Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Susan L. Roth
Penguin, 2011
picture book, non-fiction

In the 1920s, Simon Rodia aka Uncle Sam, an Italian immigrant living in Watts, California, starts to create a structure of found objects. He builds his structure using rebar, cement, broken tiles, shells, bits of pottery, and whatever else he finds. He works for 34 years building what becomes colorful, beautiful mosaic spires now called the Watts Towers. When he’s done, Rodia walks away, never to be seen again. But, his legacy can still be seen today, and is captured in this beautiful book of collage illustrations and story told from the perspective of a little girl watching Uncle Sam work. It is an inspiring story of a big dream that you won’t forget.

Book Play: Build your own Watts Tower.

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