New York City is one of our favorite places to visit. One of our family members lives in Queens and the kids always love traveling through the big city, staring at the buildings, and trying to spot the city’s most famous features.
Usually, though, we don’t have enough time to tour all of the NYC landmarks while we’re in town. So I wanted to put together a New York City landmarks unit study that the kids could use to really get an understanding of these buildings and places and how they fit into the history of New York and the U.S.
Which is why I was thrilled to get a chance to review five beautiful children’s books about New York City from Candlewick Press! These picture books and nonfiction biographies brought the Big Apple to us and helped the kids learn tons about the city!
Read on to see how we built our unit around lovely children’s books from Candlewick Press! Plus, find out how to score a 25 percent discount on Candlewick books for your family AND see how you can win a set of Judy Moody paperbacks!
Disclosure: I received these books in exchange for this post and I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.
New York City Picture Books about NYC Landmarks
I love reading great children’s books with the kids and Candlewick Press has made its reputation on excellent children’s literature, so I knew I’d find some wonderful books about NYC in the company’s catalog.
To cover our New York City landmarks unit, we used five excellent books from Candlewick Press:
- A Walk in New York by Salvatore Rubbino
- Panorama Pops: New York by Sarah McMenemy
- Pop-Up New York by Jennie Maizels
- Inside and Out: New York by Josh Cochran
- September 11, 2001: Attack on New York City by Wilborn Hampton
The first four are absolutely beautiful picture books about New York City, while the fifth is a heartwrenching, but age-appropriate retelling of the events of September 11, 2001.
The book Panorama Pops: New York is unlike any other children’s book I’ve ever seen. It’s an exquisitely cut fold-out book that serves as a 3D map of the city.
You can literally tour the city from the Statue of Liberty to Grand Central Terminal on one side and then travel from Times Square up to Yankee Stadium on the other. Since the landmarks in the book are arranged from north to south, it’s a pretty good geography lesson about NYC as well.
I wish you all could have seen me standing over the boys as they looked at this book. “Don’t pull it!” “Turn the pages carefully!” “No, that part is supposed to fold up!” I was basically treating it as a work of art. It’s that beautiful.
The book features twelve landmarks in all and gives a few facts about each one, along with a lovely illustration.
Plus, there are tiny little foldables. It’s just perfect. In fact, this book is such a little treasure that it would probably make a great gift for an adult.
With the book A Walk in New York, kids can explore more landmarks as they “walk” along the city. We used it for read-aloud time and my eight-year-old did the honors.
My kids were impressed with the size of Macy’s. (As am I whenever I’m in town.)
But that’s nothing compared to the Empire State Building, which has its own fold-out poster in the book.
Then we took a closer look at the city with the book Inside and Out: New York, another quirky book that I’d never seen before. With this book, you can pull out a large wall-sized chart of the city and explore intricate details about New York and its people.
But, then you can flip the book over and see what’s happening “inside” each of the buildings. You can even see people taking the stairs up to the top of the Statue of Liberty!
At the back, there are selected items for kids to find in the pictures. Naturally, my kids started there.
And the first thing they “found” was the New York Knicks playing basketball at Madison Square Garden, which is NOT on the list! (But we’re huge basketball fans, so it was inevitable.)
I knew that the book Pop Up: New York was going to be a big hit and it was. Pop-up books are always popular with kids and my four love them. But this book takes pop-ups to a whole new level.
You can see nearly all of the city’s landmarks in it – to scale! So when you look at the Flatiron Building, you can see the Empire State Building towering behind it. Plus, there are facts about the city tucked away in foldable books throughout.
The kids quickly found the page with Yankee Stadium and tried to find the players. As you can see, on the back sides of each pop-up feature are the names of each place and facts about it.
We spent a little time examining the financial district to find Wall Street and the World Trade Center.
Which led to a discussion about what the World Trade Center used to look like.
Reading about September 11, 2001 with Candlewick Press
September 11, 2001 is a difficult historical event to discuss with kids. It’s still a difficult event to discuss with adults. I didn’t live in New York, so (like so many people) I watched everything happen on television. But whenever I hear the date mentioned, I instantly get a knot in my stomach – even 15 years later.
The kids know that the original World Trade Center was destroyed. And they know how it happened. But now that my middle schooler is getting older, I wanted her to learn more about what that day was like. So we started reading the book September 11, 2001: Attack on New York City.
This book talks about September 11 from the standpoint of people who were there and lived to tell about it. They talk honestly about how they felt, what they saw, and how they processed it all afterward.
It’s a difficult book to read, but it is age-appropriate and the pictures are in black and white, which mutes the horror a little bit.
After skimming a few pages, Tigger disappeared into her bedroom with the book. She came out about five minutes later crying. We hugged and talked about it for a while.
At the back of the book is an afterword that ties in the events of that day with the events that followed: the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the case for weapons of mass destruction, the capture of Osama bin Laden, and more. I’ll be saving this book for a more in-depth middle-grades unit later.
If you’ve been wondering how to broach this topic with your older kids, this book is a tough, but excellent resource to use.
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Now – for the goodies!
Score a 25 percent discount on any purchase from Candlewick Press when you use the promo code CANDLEWICK at checkout! AND – enter to win a set of eight Judy Moody paperbacks FREE! One winner will receive a boxed set of books 1-8 from Candlewick Press! Use the Giveaway Tools widget below to enter.
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