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May 29, 2015

Travel New York City Through Fun Summer Reading

By Christy Crawford
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    Whether your students are “tourists” or native New Yorkers looking for great summer reads, begin their literary travels with my New York City summer reading list below. With a little imagination and help from their local librarian, students can make an enormous paper dragon soar over crowded Chinatown streets, craft a puppet set for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, or fight an explosive sea battle in New York’s most luxurious hotel. To further their immersion into one of the world's great cities, have your readers wax poetic with fellow blogger Lindsey Petlak's New York City poems list.

     

    1. In New York, by Marc Brown

    Check out the latest and greatest all about New York from the creator of the Arthur series. Brown’s contemporary book introduces readers to everything NYC, from the city’s beginnings as a Dutch colony to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

     

     

    Next stopGeorge Washington Bridge, 181st Street!

    2. Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold

    Picnic with family and friends, fly over the George Washington Bridge, or be dazzled by the stars and city lights above a Harlem rooftop in this Ringgold classic. Ringgold’s third-grade protagonist, Cassie Louise Lightfoot, is the daughter of a steel worker who is half American Indian, half African-American. Mr. Lightfoot helped build the George Washington Bridge but is not permitted to join the steelworkers union. Cassie dreams of the day her daddy can own the union building. For more about New York's American Indian steelworkers, check out Connie Ann Kirk’s Sky Dancers.

     

    3. The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, by Hildegarde H. Swift and Lynd Ward

    Who says size determines strength? Underneath the George Washington Bridge, on the shore of the Hudson River sits a powerful little beacon of light. This fictional tale of a real-life mighty might inspired thousands of New York City kids to write letters to save Manhattan's last lighthouse. Check out The Historic House Trust of New York City for more information or to visit the lighthouse.

     

     


    Next stop: 125th Street, coming up!

    4. Uptown, by Bryan Collier

    Explore beautiful brownstones, the legendary Apollo Theater, and more glorious sights and sounds in Harlem, an iconic Manhattan neighborhood.

     

     

     

    Next stop: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Eighty-Second Street and Fifth Avenue!

    5. You Can’t Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum, by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser

    There are no words in this book — just lots of action and brilliant drawings. Follow the escapades of a security guard attempting to rescue the balloon of a museum patron while viewing 18 different famous works of art and comical city scenes that mirror the art.

     

    Next stop: Seventy-Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue!

    6. The Tale of Pale Male: A True Story, by Jeanette Winter

    Will the residents of an upscale Fifth Avenue apartment complex resent new feathered friends? Will bird-loving protestors help Pale Male nest across the street in Central Park? Find out what happens when New York’s favorite hawk and his mate Lola attempt to make a 400 pound, 8-foot wide nest atop a New York City skyscraper.  

     

     

     

    Next stop: The Plaza Hotel, Fifty-Eighth Street and Fifth Avenue!

    7.  Eloise Takes A Bawth, by Kay Thompson

    Eloise! Kids will laugh out loud as they follow the trail of mischief and mess created by this 6-year-old New Yorker. This imaginative little girl lives in the penthouse of the world-famous Plaza Hotel and no one — not her nanny nor the hotel manager — can stop the mayhem that ensues once she gets some freedom.

     

     

     

    8. New York in Pajamarama, by Michael Leblond

    See the hustle and bustle of the big city by placing a pajamarama animation filter (provided in the book) on the New York illustrations and moving the filter from side to side across the page. Watch the video to see the magic!

     

     

    Next stop: Thirty-Fourth Street!

    9. Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, by Melissa Sweet

    Read about Tony Sarg, the marionette mastermind behind Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and discover how a tradition was born. Then visit MelissaSweet.net to make your own stick puppets, paddle, or finger puppets, complete with carrying case.

     

    Next Stop: Pier 66, Twenty-Sixth Street and the Hudson River!

    10.  Fireboat, The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, by Maira Kalman

    What's red, moored at Pier 66 on Twenty-Sixth Street and the Hudson River, and can pump as much water as 20 fire engines? The John J. Harvey! When the 9/11 firefighters needed help they called upon the John J. Harvey. Read about the beautiful old fireboat that came out of retirement in 2001 to help the people of New York. (See 9/11 Memorial.org and fellow blogger Alycia Zimmerman's "Celebrating Community Heroes: 9/11 in the Elementary Classroom" for tips on how to talk to children about the tragedy and recovery effort.) 

     

    Next stop: Chinatown and Little Italy!

    11. Henry and the Kite Dragon, by Bruce Edward Hall

    This fictional story set in the 1920s, highlights the dynamic relationship between two of New York’s most famous immigrant neighborhoods: Chinatown and Little Italy. Hall’s story beautifully illustrates how rival groups of kids (Henry Chu's kite flyers and Tony Guglione's homing pigeon enthusiasts) can work together for mutual understanding.

     

     

    Next Stop: One World Trade Center!

    12. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, by Mordicai Gerstein

    Young readers will marvel at the bravado of Philippe Petit, the aerialist who performed tricks and pranced on a high wire between the Twin Towers for almost an hour. Readers in disbelief can check out the original CBS News video of Petit's walk.

     

     

    Next stop: Liberty Island, New York Harbor!

    13. The Story of The Statue of Liberty, by Betsy and Giulio Maestro

    This picture book beautifully tells the story of the creation and transportation of America’s favorite statue. After reading, take a virtual tour of Lady Liberty with the National Park Service.

     

     

     

    14. New York State of Mind, by Billy Joel

    End your NYC excursion with a song. Review the sights — from the George Washington Bridge, down to Chinatown — all while listening to Joel’s single, "New York State of Mind," provided in Scholastic’s fabulous watercolor picture book of the same name.

     

    For more fun facts about New York City, read:

    *Special thanks to Montclair, N.J. librarians Enola Romano and Matilda Williams!  The most important friend a kid can have during the summer is a great librarian!

    Educators, ready to answer detractors this summer? Read my post "Five Responses to Critics of Summer Break."  Enjoy the sun!

     

     

     

    Whether your students are “tourists” or native New Yorkers looking for great summer reads, begin their literary travels with my New York City summer reading list below. With a little imagination and help from their local librarian, students can make an enormous paper dragon soar over crowded Chinatown streets, craft a puppet set for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, or fight an explosive sea battle in New York’s most luxurious hotel. To further their immersion into one of the world's great cities, have your readers wax poetic with fellow blogger Lindsey Petlak's New York City poems list.

     

    1. In New York, by Marc Brown

    Check out the latest and greatest all about New York from the creator of the Arthur series. Brown’s contemporary book introduces readers to everything NYC, from the city’s beginnings as a Dutch colony to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

     

     

    Next stopGeorge Washington Bridge, 181st Street!

    2. Tar Beach, by Faith Ringgold

    Picnic with family and friends, fly over the George Washington Bridge, or be dazzled by the stars and city lights above a Harlem rooftop in this Ringgold classic. Ringgold’s third-grade protagonist, Cassie Louise Lightfoot, is the daughter of a steel worker who is half American Indian, half African-American. Mr. Lightfoot helped build the George Washington Bridge but is not permitted to join the steelworkers union. Cassie dreams of the day her daddy can own the union building. For more about New York's American Indian steelworkers, check out Connie Ann Kirk’s Sky Dancers.

     

    3. The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, by Hildegarde H. Swift and Lynd Ward

    Who says size determines strength? Underneath the George Washington Bridge, on the shore of the Hudson River sits a powerful little beacon of light. This fictional tale of a real-life mighty might inspired thousands of New York City kids to write letters to save Manhattan's last lighthouse. Check out The Historic House Trust of New York City for more information or to visit the lighthouse.

     

     


    Next stop: 125th Street, coming up!

    4. Uptown, by Bryan Collier

    Explore beautiful brownstones, the legendary Apollo Theater, and more glorious sights and sounds in Harlem, an iconic Manhattan neighborhood.

     

     

     

    Next stop: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Eighty-Second Street and Fifth Avenue!

    5. You Can’t Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum, by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser

    There are no words in this book — just lots of action and brilliant drawings. Follow the escapades of a security guard attempting to rescue the balloon of a museum patron while viewing 18 different famous works of art and comical city scenes that mirror the art.

     

    Next stop: Seventy-Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue!

    6. The Tale of Pale Male: A True Story, by Jeanette Winter

    Will the residents of an upscale Fifth Avenue apartment complex resent new feathered friends? Will bird-loving protestors help Pale Male nest across the street in Central Park? Find out what happens when New York’s favorite hawk and his mate Lola attempt to make a 400 pound, 8-foot wide nest atop a New York City skyscraper.  

     

     

     

    Next stop: The Plaza Hotel, Fifty-Eighth Street and Fifth Avenue!

    7.  Eloise Takes A Bawth, by Kay Thompson

    Eloise! Kids will laugh out loud as they follow the trail of mischief and mess created by this 6-year-old New Yorker. This imaginative little girl lives in the penthouse of the world-famous Plaza Hotel and no one — not her nanny nor the hotel manager — can stop the mayhem that ensues once she gets some freedom.

     

     

     

    8. New York in Pajamarama, by Michael Leblond

    See the hustle and bustle of the big city by placing a pajamarama animation filter (provided in the book) on the New York illustrations and moving the filter from side to side across the page. Watch the video to see the magic!

     

     

    Next stop: Thirty-Fourth Street!

    9. Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, by Melissa Sweet

    Read about Tony Sarg, the marionette mastermind behind Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and discover how a tradition was born. Then visit MelissaSweet.net to make your own stick puppets, paddle, or finger puppets, complete with carrying case.

     

    Next Stop: Pier 66, Twenty-Sixth Street and the Hudson River!

    10.  Fireboat, The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, by Maira Kalman

    What's red, moored at Pier 66 on Twenty-Sixth Street and the Hudson River, and can pump as much water as 20 fire engines? The John J. Harvey! When the 9/11 firefighters needed help they called upon the John J. Harvey. Read about the beautiful old fireboat that came out of retirement in 2001 to help the people of New York. (See 9/11 Memorial.org and fellow blogger Alycia Zimmerman's "Celebrating Community Heroes: 9/11 in the Elementary Classroom" for tips on how to talk to children about the tragedy and recovery effort.) 

     

    Next stop: Chinatown and Little Italy!

    11. Henry and the Kite Dragon, by Bruce Edward Hall

    This fictional story set in the 1920s, highlights the dynamic relationship between two of New York’s most famous immigrant neighborhoods: Chinatown and Little Italy. Hall’s story beautifully illustrates how rival groups of kids (Henry Chu's kite flyers and Tony Guglione's homing pigeon enthusiasts) can work together for mutual understanding.

     

     

    Next Stop: One World Trade Center!

    12. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, by Mordicai Gerstein

    Young readers will marvel at the bravado of Philippe Petit, the aerialist who performed tricks and pranced on a high wire between the Twin Towers for almost an hour. Readers in disbelief can check out the original CBS News video of Petit's walk.

     

     

    Next stop: Liberty Island, New York Harbor!

    13. The Story of The Statue of Liberty, by Betsy and Giulio Maestro

    This picture book beautifully tells the story of the creation and transportation of America’s favorite statue. After reading, take a virtual tour of Lady Liberty with the National Park Service.

     

     

     

    14. New York State of Mind, by Billy Joel

    End your NYC excursion with a song. Review the sights — from the George Washington Bridge, down to Chinatown — all while listening to Joel’s single, "New York State of Mind," provided in Scholastic’s fabulous watercolor picture book of the same name.

     

    For more fun facts about New York City, read:

    *Special thanks to Montclair, N.J. librarians Enola Romano and Matilda Williams!  The most important friend a kid can have during the summer is a great librarian!

    Educators, ready to answer detractors this summer? Read my post "Five Responses to Critics of Summer Break."  Enjoy the sun!

     

     

     

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