Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Yesterday I wrote a post on the book JOHNNY APPLESEED, illustrated by gifted folk artist Kathy Jakobsen.  Today I'd like to highlight another stunning book, this one illustrated and written by Ms. Jakobsen... about the "Big Apple", where she lived for eight years.

MY NEW YORK is both fact-filled and F-U-N! On the inside front and back cover of the original book (published in 1993) is a folksy map of New York City, dominated by Manhattan, with the city's leading sights pinpointed - including Central Park and the World Trade Center. There are also two harbor views seen from the Staten Island Ferry, one of a sunset, the other a spectacular show of fireworks exploding over the tall ships, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the New York skyline -- prominently dominated by the Twin Towers.

About the first edition, and its images of the World Trade Center, Kathy said, ''It's become a positive link to the tragedy. It's become a memory.'' When Jakobsen's publishers asked her to do a new edition for the book's 10th anniversary, she faced the sad dilemma of how to paint the skyline minus the Twin Towers. In the harbor scene of the 2003 anniversary edition, she painted two columns of light where the Twin Towers used to be.

This book is a visual treat. The 10th anniversary edition also includes 7 foldout scenes and 23 new paintings. We learn from a little girl named Becky about The Big Apple in all its splendor, through a chatty letter she is writing to a friend who will soon visit her from the Midwest.

Becky lives near the NY City Public Library (remember the Library Lions?) and gives us an amazing tour of Manhattan, as she visits places with her family and friends. If you've ever been, do you miss it as much as I do...Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station, Radio City Music Hall, the Museum of Natural History, the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, FAO Schwarz - they're all here in this spectacular book!  At the end there are fun facts and a reader challenge.

This is New York by Miroslav Sasek (originally published in 1960)

New York, New York: The Big Apple from A to Z, by Laura Krauss Melmed, illustrated by Frane Lessac

I can't resist adding:  Stuart Little (New York, through the eyes of a Mouse) by E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams.

Do you have any favorite children's books about New York that I neglected to mention? I found quite an extensive list you can choose from, HERE, on a page from "The New York Society Library".

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