I ❤ New York – Friday Book Favorites


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

Melissa Sweet won a Caldecott Honor for her stunning collage illustrations in Balloons Over Broadway. This well-crafted picture book beautifully describes the life and story of Tony Sarg, the mastermind behind the helium balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sweet’s work complements Tony Sarg’s achievements well and will forever change the readers’ view on the traditional Thanksgiving parade.


Little Humans by Brandon Stanton

Based on the pictures from the popular blog “Humans of New York,” Brandon Stanton creates an empowering text that any little human can relate to. Stanton uses photographs of children from all five NYC boroughs to add depth and meaning to his book. Its rhyming text and diverse pictures will delight, engage, and encourage little humans (and big humans!) everywhere.


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

Maira Kalman uses this story about a retired fireboat to sensitively address the tragic events of September 11, 2001 in an age appropriate manner. While the text remains on the surface level and describes the uplifting tale of the John J. Harvey Fireboat’s journey in a changing city, the illustrations provide the reader with a better understanding of the tragic day. Kalman sheds light on an important moment in history without scaring young readers, and also honors those heroes, including the John J. Harvey, who worked hard to help people when New York City needed them most.


Friday Book Favorites!

With the help of our wonderful students, we have lots of plans and ideas for our blog. We’ll get started with a new weekly feature, Friday Favorites. Becca and Elexa are taking charge of these posts which will showcase favorite books and literature selections. Check out these five popular and award-winning titles:


The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, by Dan Santat, is the 2015 Caldecott Award winner. Have you ever thought about where imaginary friends come from? Well, they are in their own world, waiting to be imagined. When the yet to be imagined friend Beekle gets tired of waiting, he sets off on an adventure to the real world to find his friend. The illustrations show a stark contrast in color between the real and imaginary world (a subtle nod to the loss of creativity in today’s fast-paced, standards driven world).

Nana in the City

Nana in the City

Nana in the City, by Lauren Castillo, highlights the beauty and wonder of big city living. Its stunning watercolor illustrations won a 2015 Caldecott Honor as they so vividly capture the essence of New York City. Written in first person, the story is told by a young boy who is frightened by the sights, sounds, and smells of the intimidating city where his Nana lives. However, when Nana gives him a magic cape, he begins to see his surroundings in a different light and embrace this new place. Nana in the City lends itself to classroom use both in and outside of New York City.


Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen, is an exciting new release from 2014. Awarded the 2015 Caldecott Honor for its illustrations, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole is a whimsical tale of two friends who dig a hole in their backyard. Written in classic postmodern style, the illustrations play an integral role in the development of the plot. Be sure to study the pictures at the end of the story very carefully, because this author/illustrator team leaves the reader with a few unanswered questions and a lot of room for prediction!

You Are Not Small

You Are (NOT) Small

You Are (NOT) Small, by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant, is the 2015 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner. Who is small and who is big? Can we be the same and different? It all depends on your reference point. Empty space and bold outlines add depth to the story. Telling illustrations and simple yet specific text allow for a tale of perspective to unfold.

Farmer and the Clown

The Farmer and The Clown

The Farmer and The Clown, by Marla Frazee, is a gorgeous wordless picture book released in the fall of 2014. Winner of a Charlotte Huck Honor Award and featured on many other ‘must read’ lists, this charming story of an unexpected friendship is both powerful and heartwarming. The wordless pages with detailed illustrations leave room for multiple interpretations and beg to be studied again and again. With an ending that will tug on your heartstrings and put a smile on your face, The Farmer and The Clown is a must read.