I tend to group books together by topic. Last night we read about New York city. We read fascinating educational, yet entertaining, books about the building of the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Rising: The Story of the Statue of Liberty) and the Empire State building (Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building). We wish that more books were able to strike such a great balance between educational and entertaining! The illustrations in these books are gorgeous, and the text is incredibly engaging.
After reading about the history of New York, it was really fun to read a book about modern-day New York City – a wonderful picture book called Zoe Sophia in New York The Mystery of the Pink Phoenix Papers, by Claudia Mauner and Elisa Smalley, Illustrated by Claudia Mauner. In the story, Zoe Sophia’s great aunt Dorothy comes to visit from Venice on a book tour and to do research for her new book. They have to search for the story behind a pink phoenix scarab as part of the research – hence the mystery. Zoe Sophia and Dorothy go to a fortune teller, who gives them clues about where they will find the pink phoenix scarab journal. As they search, they see many sights of New York City – the Met, the Circle Line tour around the harbor (passing the Statue of Liberty!), the gorgeous view of the city at night from the Empire State Building, and Greenwich village (they even remind you how to pronounce Greenwich and Houston Street!).
I loved this book because it reminded me of the trips I’ve taken to NYC to spend time with my own Aunt, exploring the sights. My girls loved the book because it was a mystery, but one without any real danger (exactly the type they love!). It was wonderful to have finished books that explained how the NYC skyline was created before reading a story about present-day life in the city, it really gave us all a wonderful perspective.
All three books were wonderful, and we highly recommend them. Kids who are interested in construction (though my girls love construction, a lot of books for boys are written about it) will adore the factual yet wonderful books about building the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Rising: The Story of the Statue of Liberty) and the Empire State building (Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building). Since the Zoe Sophia book has exclusively female characters, this may be more of a book for girls (aimed at the 5-10 year old girl set), but the mystery is a safe, fun one that engaged all three of my girls (3, 6, and 8 years old) as well as myself.
More about the two building books will appear in a future entry