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Children's Nonfiction City & Town Life


How Humans Live Together

by (author) Megan Clendenan

illustrated by Suharu Ogawa

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
May 2023
City & Town Life, Prejudice & Racism, Environmental Conservation & Protection, Homelessness & Poverty, Architecture
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
Recommended Reading age
9 to 12
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Discussion Guide

Download Handout

Where to buy it


If you could design a city that would be both a great place to live and good for the planet, what would it look like?

Today, about four billion people—more than half the world’s population—live in cities. This number could rise to seven billion by 2050. Cities face big challenges, including threats from climate change, food insecurity, a lack of clean water and rapid population growth, but they are also places where innovation and sustainability can thrive.

Cities: How Humans Live Together travels through time to explore questions like When and why did cities form? How did people access food and water? Where did they go to the bathroom? Peek into the past to see how cities have changed through time and explore what could make cities more sustainable and welcoming for today and tomorrow.

About the authors

Megan Clendenan has worked for women's rights, mental health and youth empowerment nonprofits as well as for an environmental law group, which is when she realized for the first time that the court system could be a way to help protect human health from pollution and toxic chemicals. She is the co-author of Design Like Nature, part of the Orca Footprints series, and the author of Offbeat, a novel for young readers. Megan lives in North Vancouver, British Columbia, with her family.


Megan Clendenan's profile page

Suharu Ogawa is a Toronto-based illustrator. Her love for drawing started in a kindergarten art school after being kicked out of calligraphy class for refusing to convert to right-handedness. Formally trained in art history and cultural anthropology, she worked for several years as a university librarian until her passion for illustration called her out of that career and into the pursuit of a lifelong dream. Since then, Suharu has created illustrations for magazines, public art projects and children's books, including Why Humans Work: How Jobs Shape Our Lives and Our World in the Orca Think line. She also teaches illustration at OCAD University in Toronto.


Suharu Ogawa's profile page


  • Commended, Children's Book Council Librarian Favorites Award 6th - 8th Grade
  • Long-listed, The Nature Generation Green Earth Book Award - Children’s Nonfiction
  • Nominated, The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Golden Kite Award - Nonfiction Text for Older Readers
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens

Editorial Reviews

“‘Must-have’ for middle grade readers…An engaging format with an information-packed text...By encouraging critical thinking about the development of sustainable, safe, equitable cities around the world, Cities challenges today’s students to learn from the past and prepare for the future. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Fascinating…Ebullient...A thought-provoking guide to the past, present, and future of cities.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Full of engaging facts...A colorful combination of photographs, cartoon illustrations, and infographics provides plenty of visuals in this appealing look at human history.”


“Truly impressive…An engaging presentation of information that might otherwise be seen as technical and mundane. Recommended.”

School Library Connection

“Older readers with a fascination for cities planning, global history and those looking for a research text will find a wealth of information in this book…Ogawa provides playful, expressive illustration alongside beautiful global photography on every page…Readers will look forward to future nonfiction ecological endeavours by Clendenan.”

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

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