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!