Sunday, September 11, 2011

To Brooklyn... and Beyond!

Out of New York City's five boroughs, none has the same mystique as Brooklyn.  Its reputation precedes it, and whether it conjures up for you images of gritty urban life or hipster mecca depends on your frame of reference and which neighborhood (and era) you're talking about.  Once a city in its own right, Brooklyn still has an identity separate and apart from its role as a part of the city as a whole.  So it's only fitting that it should have an ABC book dedicated to it and it alone: The ABCs of Brooklyn, An Alphabet Guidebook for All Ages.  Currently the NYPL does not have it but I'm hoping the book's merit will triumph over inter-borough and inter-library system rivalries (Brooklyn has its own library system).  I learned about the book here (it's mentioned all the way at the end).   On the adult side of things, the New York Times has also recently run two reviews of Literary Brooklyn: The Writers of Brooklyn and the Story of American City Life by Evan Hughes.

Venturing beyond Brooklyn, the same blurb also mentions NYC ABC put out by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Not to be confused with ABC NYC: A Book About Seeing New York City, a worthy book in its own right, NYC ABC features New York City as depicted in works in the museum's collection.  ABC NYC, on the other hand, depicts each letter in alphabetical order as found somewhere in the city.  For parents, the article also mentions a tongue-in-cheek book, 101 Reasons to Leave New York by Howard Jordan. 

There are tons of other books which feature New York City generally or Brooklyn specifically.  Four of them are on my list of assigned reading for my husband:   A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk and Time and Again by Jack Finney.  I mention another New York City alphabet book as well as one featuring the local "fauna" here.  And of course, set in Brooklyn is the modern classic, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Brooklyn resident Mo Willems and its sequels.

What are your favorite children's and adult books about or set in Brooklyn?  New York City?


  1. It's a little simple but I like Karen Katz's Subway
    It's fun trying to figure where the mom and little girl are going. It also reminds me of the Sesame Street song "Subway" c. 1975- "You could lose your purse or even worse on the subway."

  2. Brooklyn, Hooray! I've been putting together a page of Books set in Brooklyn, like my page for Books set in Paris. Plus, I'm going to do a mini-theme on the Brooklyn Bridge. I have to admit having a soft spot for Knuffle Bunny since it is set in our neighborhood, but I also loved the chapter book, Girl's Best Friend. Oh, and What Happens on Wednesdays is good.

    Never mind, I can't choose a favorite.