• US Edition

The House That Lou Built

A heartfelt, classic and thought-provoking debut from a fabulous new voice in middle grade fiction.

Twelve-year-old Lou Bitao loves to make things with her hands—even if it doesn’t always win her popularity.  The wooden flip-flops?  The ingenious toilet-paper-roll hat?  Yep, there’s a reason why the in-crowd call her President T.P.  But now Lou has the ultimate summer DIY project.  She’s going to build a Tiny House, 100 square feet, all by herself.  A place crafted from her own skills, on her very own land, where she can escape when her jam-packed home and crazy extended Filipino family get too much.

It’s not easy building a house, as Lou discovers.  Mom’s moving them out of state, the county’s auctioning off her land, and time’s quickly running out.  Still, with some unexpected help, a little innovation, and a whole lot of heart, Lou finds out that a DIY project can change her life… and just how big “tiny” can really be.

Rights details

World English Language: Wendy Lamb Books, Random House (Summer 2018)
Large print: Thorndike
Audio: Tantor

Good news

Bank Street Best Books of the Year 2019

Featured in the 9-12 age group, and with a star for Outstanding Merit.

Best Children’s Books of the Year

Named to Vermont’s 2019-20 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Master List!

Honor Award for Children’s Literature given by The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) 2019


Best STEM Books for 2019, selected by the National Association of Science Teachers


Starred Review from School Library Journal

“Readers will be buoyed by the warmth and candor of Lou’s close-knit, intergenerational support system and will enjoy meeting Lou, a resourceful protagonist who knows who she is and is comfortable in her own skin. A sweet touch of romance will appeal to many tweens, without overshadowing the messages of environmental awareness, honesty, and the value of being oneself.”

Starred review from Kirkus

“Lou’s story gives voice to Filipino youth, addressing cultural differences, the importance of bayanihan (community), and the true meaning of home. This delightful debut welcomes readers in like a house filled with love.”

18 2018 Middle Grade Books to Have on Your Radar

Selected by Teen Librarian Toolbox.


The Author

Mae Respicio

Mae Respicio is a Filipina-American writer. Her charming, thought-provoking middle-grade  debut, A HOUSE LIKE THIS, was preempted by Wendy Lamb at her eponymous Random House imprint.

She is a former PEN Emerging Voices Fellow and author of Images of America: Filipinos in Los Angeles (Arcadia Publishing).  She has previously been published in The Bigger the Better the Tighter the Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image, and Other Hazards of Being Female (Seal Press) and she completed a writing residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.  Mae  was also a longtime administrator for an established writing program at UCLA, where she was fortunate to build many connections with authors.



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