New York

The New York State Library has extensive  Explore New York reading lists


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New York City:

Abuela (English Edition with Spanish Phrases) by Arthur Dorros and illustrated by Elisa Kleven

Paperback | Hardcover

Join Rosalba and her grandmother — her abuela —on a magical journey as they fly over the streets, sights, and people of New York City which sparkles below.

  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 3 – 7 years
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Puffin Books; Illustrated edition (May 1, 1997)
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0140562257
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0140562255

Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood by Tony Hillery and illustrated by Jessie Hartland


When Mr. Tony (Tony Hillery) spotted an abandoned lot across from a school in Harlem, he had an idea. Getting help from the community, he cleaned it up and invited children to help him plant a garden. Through trial and error a farm emerged. Delightful picture book.

Reading age : 4 – 8 years
Publisher : Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books; Illustrated edition (August 18, 2020)
ISBN-10 : 1534402314
ISBN-13 : 978-1534402317

New York Day & Night by Aurelie Pollet and Vincent Bergier


Sandy the cat helps readers explore the nighttime city, starting with a rocket-ship shape that stands out light against a dark blue and black night sky. Lifting the page, Frankie the squirrel welcomes readers to New York in a daytime scene which reveals the rocket is actually the iconic Empire State Building. The illustrations create alternating tension then relief in each set of spreads as readers learn that sometimes things aren’t as they seem. Imaginative and innovative.

  • Age Range: 3 – 6 years
  • Publisher: Prestel Junior (March 19, 2019)
  • ISBN-10: 3791373781
  • ISBN-13: 978-3791373782

You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and illustrated by Robin Glasser

Paperback | Hardcover

New York City and its famed Metropolitan Museum of Art provide the setting for a crazy collision of art and city life in this inventively illustrated picture book. It all starts with a little girl’s trip to view the museum’s treasures and the parallel journey of her runaway yellow balloon. Floating down Fifth Avenue, past Central Park, bumping into a very silly tea party at the Plaza Hotel, and even adding to a tumultuous performance at the Metropolitan Opera, the balloon becomes part of a hilarious panorama of scenes that seem to mirror the paintings and sculpture raptly viewed by the little girl.

  • Reading age : 5 – 8 years
  • Publisher : Puffin Books; Reprint edition (January 29, 2001)
  • ISBN-10 : 0140568166
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0140568165

How Emily Saved the Bridge: The Story of Emily Warren Roebling and the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by Frieda Wishinsky and illustrated by Natalie Nelson

Kindle | Hardcover

Emily was not an engineer, but she was educated in math and science. She married Washington Roebling, the chief engineer of the famous Brooklyn Bridge. When Washington became ill from decompression sickness, Emily stepped in, doing everything from keeping the books, to carrying messages for her husband, to monitoring the construction of the bridge. She was the first person to cross the Brooklyn Bridge when it opened. Factual, but with imagined dialogue.

Reading age ‏ : ‎ 7 – 10 years
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Groundwood Books (May 7, 2019)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1773061046
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1773061047

Silent Movie by Avi and illustrated by C.B. Mordan (2003)


Follows the struggles of a Swedish family that immigrated to New York City in the early 1900s.

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (March 1, 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 0689841450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689841453

The Honeybee Man by Lela Nargi and illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker (2011)

Kindle | Hardcover

A realistic fiction picture book about a man named Fred who keeps bees on his rooftop in Brooklyn. Description of the honey-making process included. 

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (March 8, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0375849807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375849800

Central Park Serenade by Laura Godwin and illustrated by Barry Root (2002)


The sights and sounds of New York City’s Central Park, told through rhyming text. Matched with lovely illustrations with green and golden tints. 

  • Age Range: 3 – 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (April 2, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 0060258918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060258917

Hattie and the Wild Waves: A Story From Brooklyn by Barbara Cooney  (1993)

Paperback | Hardcover

Somewhat autobiographical tale of a young girl growing up in Brooklyn and Long Island, who wants to become an artist.

  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 5 – 8 years
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Viking Juvenile; 1st edition (October 15, 1990)
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0670830569
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0670830565

Chapter Books and Middle Grade:

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser (2017)

Kindle | Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover

When their landlord decides not to renew their lease five days before Christmas, the Vanderbeekers must pull out all stops in order to stay in the old brownstone that is the only home they’ve known. 

  • Age Range: 7 – 10 years
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 3, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 0544876393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544876392

Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson

Kindle | Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover

Amara wants to visit her father’s family in New York City–Harlem, to be exact. She can’t wait to finally meet her Grandpa Earl and cousins in person, and to stay in the brownstone where her father grew up.

But New York City is not exactly what Amara thought it would be. It’s crowded, with confusing subways, suffocating sidewalks, and her father is too busy with work to spend time with her and too angry to spend time with Grandpa Earl. As she explores, asks questions, and learns more and more about Harlem and about her father and his family history, she realizes how she connects with him, her home, and her family.

  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8 – 12 years
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Bloomsbury Children’s Books; Reprint edition (September 8, 2020)
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1681191105
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1681191102

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden and illustrated by Garth Williams (originally 1970)

Kindle | Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover

In this classic novel, Chester Cricket comes to New York City’s Times Square by mistake.

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 7
  • Publisher: Square Fish; 1st edition (April 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0312380038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312380038

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead 

Kindle | Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover

Miranda and Sal are sixth graders living in New York City.  After a series of mysterious events that might be linked to Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, they have to figure out what is going on and prevent a death. Will they be too late?

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (December 28, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0375850864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375850868

The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley

Kindle | Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover

Harlem is home to all kinds of kids. Jin sees life passing her by from the window of her family’s bodega. Alex wants to help the needy one shelter at a time, but can’t tell anyone who she really is. Elvin’s living on Harlem’s cold, lonely streets, surviving on his own after his grandfather was mysteriously attacked.When these three strangers join forces to find out what happened to Elvin’s grandfather, their digging leads them to an enigmatic artist whose missing masterpieces are worth a fortune — one that might save the neighborhood from development by an ambitious politician.

  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8 – 12 years
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Scholastic Inc.; Reprint edition (April 24, 2018)
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0545783887
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0545783880


No Vacancy by Tziporah Cohen

Kindle | Audiobook | Hardcover

Buying and moving into the run-down Jewel Motor Inn in upstate New York wasn’t eleven-year-old Miriam Brockman’s dream, but at least it’s an adventure. Miriam befriends Kate, whose grandmother owns the diner next door, and finds comfort in the company of Maria, the motel’s housekeeper, and her Uncle Mordy, who comes to help out for the summer. She spends her free time helping Kate’s grandmother make her famous grape pies and begins to face her fears by taking swimming lessons in the motel’s pool. But that might all come to an end when they face a financial crisis.

  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 9 – 12 years
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Groundwood Books (September 1, 2020)
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 177306410X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1773064109

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (2004)

Kindle | Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover

Award-winning young adult novel about a girl torn between her family and her future, set in 1906 in the Adirondacks. Contain young adult themes, like the murder of a young woman.

  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 14 years and up
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 7, 2019)
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 035806368X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0358063681

Nonfiction Books:


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

Kindle | Audiobook | Hardcover | Audio CD

A winner of multiple awards, Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet was located in biography in my library, but it could have been shelved in holidays as well. Ever wondered about the huge balloons in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? This book tells how Tony Sarg made the Macy’s Parade what it is today.

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (November 1, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0547199457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547199450

This Very Tree: A Story of 9/11, Resilience, and Regrowth by Sean Rubin

Kindle | Audiobook | Hardcover

For decades, a Callery pear tree grew between the Twin Towers in New York City. On September 11, 2001, the tree was buried under the rubble. But somehow the “Survivor Tree” survived. After being moved to the Bronx, it was nursed back to health. Almost a decade later, the Survivor Tree returned home and was planted in the 9/11 Memorial to provide beauty and comfort…and also hope.

  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 – 8 years
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (May 11, 2021)
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250788501
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250788504

Hiromi’s Hands by Lynne Barasch (2007)

Paperback | Hardcover

A picture-book biography of Hiromi Suzuki, one of New York City’s first female sushi chefs.

  • Age Range: 6 and up 
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books (March 1, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 1584302755
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584302759

Little New York (Board book) by Helen L. Wilbur and illustrated by Jeannie Brett

Kindle | Board book

Rhyming riddles teach youngsters state birds, flowers, trees, culture, and animals. Example: “Mets and Yankees, Hall of Fame, balls and bats…name the game.” Cute!

  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 – 8 years
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Sleeping Bear Press; Illustrated edition (February 4, 2010)
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1585364916
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1585364916

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