Drawing Outside the Lines is an imagined childhood of pioneering architect Julia Morgan, who left behind an extraordinary legacy of creativity, beauty, and engineering marvels.
In 1883, eleven-year-old Julia visits the amazing new Brooklyn Bridge, an experience that ignites within her a small but persistent flame. Someday, she too will build something wonderful. Her journey is not easy. Growing up in horse-and-buggy Oakland, she enjoys daring fence walks, climbing the tallest trees, and constantly testing her mother’s patience with her lack of interest in domestic duties and social events. At a time when “brainy” girls are the object of ridicule, Julia excels in school and consistently outsmarts her ornery brothers. A greater battle awaits her in college. The male students taunt her, and the professors belittle her. Through it all, Julia holds on to her dream of becoming an architect. She faces each challenge head-on, firmly standing up to those who are convinced that a woman’s place is in the home. Fortunately, the world is about to meet the indomitable Miss Morgan.
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Look for these splendid sketches in Drawing Outside the Lines created by artist Suzanna Klein.
Julia Morgan’s Oakland Home, 1884
Oakland High School in the 1880s
UC Berkeley Library, Bacon Hall, 1890s
Praise for Drawing Outside the Lines
“…Austin uses extensive research, including the expertise of a Julia Morgan scholar, to craft an inspiring origin story ideal for young readers… Thoroughly researched and sweetly written.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Austin imagines Julia Morgan’s life with authority. She makes an important historical figure accessible to us. Drawing Outside the Lines makes us see and feel what Morgan was up against, which makes her spectacular work all the more impressive.”
— Gennifer Choldenko, Author of Al Capone Does My Shirts
Susan Austin’s deep research makes her imagined story of Julia Morgan’s early life and influences plausible—even more accurate than some of the biographies out there. But Austin’s passion for the subject of this trailblazing architect makes the story fun and inspiring.”
— Karen McNeill PhD, author of Parisian Foundations: Julia Morgan at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, 1896-1902
“A compelling story with a wealth of evocative details offers a memorable telling. Woven into the story are Julia Morgan’s ability, persistence, and ambition…an inspiration for any reader.”
— Joan Schoettler, Author of Ruth Asawa: A Sculpting Life
“Diligent research and a rich imagination make Susan Austin’s new book on the young Julia Morgan a pleasure to read for all ages. This book is a charming introduction to a great woman architect.”
— Sarah Gill, author of Julia Morgan’s Berkeley City Club
“Drawing Outside the Lines opens a window into another time and place. The rich descriptions of life in Oakland, California in the early 20th Century presents readers with a window into the remarkable life of Julia Morgan who challenged gender discrimination to follow her dream of becoming an architect. The added bonus is the rich historical backdrop carefully researched and presented through the imagined story of Morgan’s early life. Readers will find mirrors in Julia’s story as she describes wanting something different—something that doesn’t fit the norms of the time and place. This wonderful story encourages us to take a stand and follow our dreams—it is indeed a story for our time—one of inspiration and perseverance. A must read!
— Margit E. McGuire PhD, Former President of National Council for the Social Studies
“This is a simple and splendidly constructed story, history and inspiration at a human scale. Susan Austin expertly weaves together fact and educated conjecture into a memorable tapestry of the formative years of a remarkable woman.”
— Steven Finacom, Past President, Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association