5 Stops on the 5 Train for Book Lovers
There are so many great children’s books set in New York City! We asked Lisa Papademetriou, author of Apartment 1986, to share some of her favorites. Bonus: they all take place along the 5 train!
When I was fourteen, my father got remarried and moved to New York City. Although I remained in Houston, my frequent visits ensured that I got to know “the city” (as Callie says in my new novel, Apartment 1986, “People in New York and New Jersey call New York City just ‘the city,’ which is kind of funny when you think about it because even the people in Oz said ‘the Emerald City,’ though there didn’t seem to be any other cities around”). Anyway, he and his family live on the Upper East Side, which is the setting of some terrific books. In fact, you can go all the way from one end of Manhattan to the other (and even out into Brooklyn) on the same subway train and find books set all along the way. Here’s a list I put together of books set along the 5 train, since my book is set near that line, but you could probably put together a similar list for every subway line in New York!
First Stop: Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
Eleven-year-old Lonnie expresses how much he misses his parents (who died four years ago in a fire) and his sister (who has been placed in a different foster home) in this moving novel-in-verse. Basically, you can never go wrong with anything by Jacqueline Woodson, but this is one of my favorites.
Second Stop: Fulton Street
All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
These are charming linked stories about five sisters who live with their parents on the Lower East Side at the turn of the 20th Century. I read this book for the first time recently (as a read-aloud to my daughter) and we both loved it.
Third Stop: 59th Street
Eloise by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight
Who can resist the classic tale of a chatty girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel? Eloise is a girl who has never been properly introduced to punctuation and wouldn’t care for it if she had. She’s adventurous and brave, and would be a model for young girls if she weren’t such a (hilarious) terror.
Last Stop (Two Titles!): 86th Street
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
When Claudia and her younger brother Jamie run away to the Metropolitan Museum, they uncover a mystery surrounding an angel statue. It could be the work of Renaissance master Michelangelo…or it might not. But when they follow the clues to the previous owner, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, they discover the truth about a number of things. This book is clever and funny, one of my all-time favorites.
Apartment 1986 by Lisa Papademetriou
When Callie takes a mental health day from school, she decides to spend the day at a museum. There, she befriends prickly Cassius, and by the end of the week she discovers that looking at art can change the way she looks at a lot of things — including friends, bullies, and her own family.
Hope you enjoy your book tour! What are your favorite New York City tales?