6 Great Books About New York City

By Amy Hackworth.

In honor of Gabrielle’s quick trip, I thought it would be fun to do an NYC roundup. I’ve always loved New York City for its countless wonders: art, culture, design, shopping, people — even the traffic fascinates me. These picture books are a great place to share the magic of the city with the little ones in your life, whether you’re just beginning a love affair with New York or keeping your enchantment alive.

1) In Abuela, Rosalba imagines what it would be like if she and her grandmother could fly high above New York City. Featuring famous landmarks, a beautiful relationship between grandmother and granddaughter, some Spanish vocabulary and bright folk art style illustrations, this book is a treat.

2) Matteo Pericoli’s See the City: The Journey of Manhattan Unfurled is an inspiring exercise in really seeing what’s around you. Pericoli draws both the east and west sides of Manhattan with impressive accuracy and a simple, architectural sketch style. It’s one of the coolest books I’ve ever seen. Among my favorite things: his straightforward, inspiring narrative that explains his process and approach (“Drawing is learning. Try and you’ll find out.”), the form of the book that flips over to show east side and west side, and his interesting handwritten labels of landmarks and non-landmarks. A great choice for thoughtful artists.

3) Madlenka pays tribute to the diversity of New York City, and the comfort of community, as little Madlenka experiences the world’s cultures by walking around her block to share the news of her loose tooth. Engaging cut-outs and incredible illustrations, many with unique perspectives, make this a book you can savor.

4) For a more literal — and equally fun — version of city letters, look at ABC NYC: A Book About Seeing New York City full of fun, uniquely New York vocabulary and photographs.

5) When You Meet a Bear on Broadway is a sweet story about a little girl whose kindness and ingenuity help a lost bear find his mama. The soft watercolor illustrations are a perfect complement to the tone of the story, which earned a starred Booklist review.

6) The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, a Caldecott book, documents the incredible story of Philippe Petit, who walks on a tightrope between the two buildings. Even in picture book form, his dizzying feat makes my stomach drop, but the book captures Petit’s honest wonder and passion for tightrope walking in a beautifully told story. It gently acknowledges that the towers are gone now, but they live in our memory.

Like the endless wonders of the city, this list could be a mile long. Please share your favorites in the comments!

29 thoughts on “6 Great Books About New York City”

  1. These books look wonderful – I especially want to check out the ABC NYC one!
    I recently picked up New York’s 50 Best Places to Take Children (http://www.amazon.com/Yorks-Best-Places-Take-Children/dp/0789318997/ref=pd_sim_b_8)
    and it’s a wonderful guide. I have some places marked for when the weather turns cold!
    Last weekend we went to the Bronx Zoo, which was just such a wonderful place to visit. The fact that there are giraffes in the heart of the Boogie Down Bronx is just mindblowing.

  2. I love NY even if I have never set foot there … Speaking about books, my Amercian friend showed me once a children’s book, a “musthave” for kids as she said. It is about this little girl living in the a hotel (Plaza I think). Gosh, can’t remember the name but it was a nice and wonderful little children’s book with nice illustrations …

  3. The House on East 88th Street and the other Lyle, Lyle Crocodile books are wonderful – we hope to make a family pilgrimage one day.

  4. A beautiful book about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and how P.T. Barnum “tested” its soundness: Twenty One Elephants and Still Standing.

  5. Oh we have so many NYC favorites- luckily we live here!
    Here are a few:
    When Blue Met Egg, Lindsey Ward
    The Little Red Lighthouse, Hildegarde H. Swift (We live near this!)
    Subway, Christophe Niemann
    The Lonely Phonebooth, Peter Ackerman
    Library Lion, Michelle Knudsen
    Blackout, John Rocco

  6. My favorite is This is New York by Miroslav Sasek. There is an entire series but New York is my favorite.

    I second Lyle, too! One of my faves. And we just named our daughter Eloise, so I expect we will be acquiring those soon.

  7. We’re big “Subway” fans too… but the biggest hit in our house is “A Walk in New York” by Salvatore Rubbino. My four year old loves it so much we just re-enacted it on our most recent trip there!

  8. I took my girls (13,6 and 6) to Comic Con in NYC just a week ago. They love going to the city for adventures. We have Madlenka, thank you for reminding me! One of my little ones lost a tooth. Timing could not be more perfect :-)

  9. Pingback: Book Links & Boston Weekend Plans « Books Outside the Box

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