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New York City History for Kids, by Richard Panchyk, is a wonderful tribute to our beloved city. The book begins with a tribute to the author’s great-grandfather, Carl Friedrich, who was the first of his relatives to arrive in New York City in 1866.
The first few chapters take us through the Ice Age, which gave birth to “Mannahatta,” or “island of many hills,” and the first European settlers, the Dutch fur tradesman who in 1626 purchased Manhattan Island from the Native Americans. From here, the melting pot we call our great city came to life. My son particularly enjoyed learning what took place over the next 100 years as many new colonists and changes came to light as the population continued to grow. It was very interesting for him to learn about the many wars and battles that took place as well as the development of the many super structures he knows of today such as the Statue of Liberty, the American Museum of Natural History, Madison Square Garden and the Subway System and the 9/11 Freedom Tower.
The book also contains 21 fun activities sure to further reinforce your trip down NYC history. Of particular interest in my house were “How to Play Stickball,” “Put On a Broadway Show” and “How to Make New York Bagels.” Each activity goes along with the time period you are reading about and my children were really interested in them. The book ends with a wonderful quote from writer O. Henry regarding New York of the Future: “It’ll be a great place if they ever finish it.” That is the New York I know and love: a forever work in progress. It was pretty exciting to read this book with my child and I look forward to revisiting it again and again.