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


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


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


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


Written by Kay Thompson

Illustrated by Hilary Knight


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


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


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


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


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

The Pigman

Written and illustrated by Paul Zindel


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


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

Tar Beach

Written and illustrated by Faith Ringgold


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

The Block

Written by Langston Hughes

Illustrated by Romare Bearden


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


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


Written and illustrated by Peter Sis


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


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


Storied City: New York