Storied City: New York

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"To some people," sighs the worldly, wisecracking 12-year-old Peter Hatcher of Judy Blume's Superfudge, "there's no place like Nu Yuk. And I guess I'm one of them." As America's real-life Oz, "Cross-roads of the World," and publishing epicenter, New York City remains an enduring source of inspiration for authors of books for children and teens.

Mark Twain, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Ludwig Bemelmans, H. A. and Margret Rey, Langston Hughes, Robert McCloskey, Roald Dahl, Maurice Sendak, and Blume herself all called New York home at one time or another. Providing more than mere residency, however, New York and its culture of superlatives—its tall tale-ish appetite for newests, biggests, and bests—has made it a natural backdrop for the exploits of colorful characters, from Eloise and Harriet the Spy to Lyle Crocodile.

In the same spirit, writers and artists have celebrated the city's iconic landmarks; chronicled its historic role as a seaport, arts mecca, and immigrant destination; and zoomed in tightly on its endlessly evolving honeycomb of culturally diverse neighborhoods. New York's openness to change is doubtless the main reason it has inspired its own flourishing subgenre of young people's literature, with stories to tell about growing up, venturing out, and becoming one's own person.


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Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky Cover, a small tugboat with a happy face on a dark ocean

Little Toot

Written and illustrated by Hardie Gramatky

1939

Sunshine by Ludwig Bemelmans cover, illustration of New York City skyline in the rain

Sunshine: A Story About the City of New York

Written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans

1950

All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor cover,  five girls sitting on a chaise lounge reading

All-of-a-Kind Family

Written by Sydney Taylor

Illustration by Helen John

1951

Eloise by Kay Thompson 1955 cover, a girl climbing up onto a vanity to draw on the mirror with lipstick

Eloise

Written by Kay Thompson

Illustrated by Hilary Knight

1955

Cricket in Times Square by George Selden cover, a cat examining a mouse in a hole

The Cricket in Times Square

Written by George Selden

Illustrated by Garth Williams

1960

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl cover, a boy looking at a huge peach

James and the Giant Peach

Written by Roald Dahl

Illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burkert

1961

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats cover, a small child bundled in a snow suit standing in the snow

The Snowy Day

Written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats

1962

Harriet the Spy by  Louise Fitzhugh cover, a child in a dark sweatshirt walking in front of a boarded up building

Harriet the Spy

Written and illustrated by Louise Fitzhugh

1964

The Pigman by Paul Zindel cover, two people walking along empty benches

The Pigman

Written and illustrated by Paul Zindel

1968

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak cover, a young boy flying in an airplane made of dough

In the Night Kitchen

Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak

1970

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold cover, a family eating at a table on a roof

Tar Beach

Written and illustrated by Faith Ringgold

1991

The Block by Langston Hughes cover, several people gathered on a city street

The Block

Written by Langston Hughes

Illustrated by Romare Bearden

1995

145th Street: Short Stories by Walter Dean Meyers cover, portraits of young people in front of a large brick building

145th Street: Short Stories

Written by Walter Dean Meyers

2000

Madlenka by Peter Sis cover, a portrait of a girl in the center of a large city

Madlenka

Written and illustrated by Peter Sis

2000

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems cover, a small child holding a stuffed bunny while walking down a street

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale

Written and illustrated by Mo Willems

2004

Henry and the Kite Dragon by Bruce Edward Hall cover, a colorful dragon kite soaring over rooftops

Henry and the Kite Dragon

Written by Bruce Edward Hall

Illustrated by William Low

2004

Storied City: New York