Roberto: the Insect Architect

Nina Laden (2000), Chronicle Books

Roberto is a daydreaming termite who doesn’t want to do what all the other termites do; he wants to design and construct great buildings. After a move to the big bug city despite very few job prospects, he meets a series of bugs with problems he thinks he can solve. Roberto sketches, plans, and builds a whole bug neighborhood out of discarded materials and anonymously gifts the keys to needy bugs. Eventually, he is discovered and becomes a famous hero and a symbol of creativity and philanthropy for all bugs.

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Talk with a child about this book

How do you think Roberto felt when people made fun of his dreams to be an architect?

What was special about the neighborhood he built?

Why do you think Roberto gave the keys to the other bugs in secret?

Have you ever felt like you wanted to try something, but you didn’t because others weren’t doing it?

Do you think Roberto’s life would be different if he didn’t become famous, but still got to build homes for bugs who needed them?