Sunday, November 25, 2012

Reference Sunday: One Times Square by Joe McKendry

This is the time of year that always reminds me of my Dad.   He was a wonderful man who loved his family more than anything.    Even though I grew up in NJ he was born and raised in NYC.   He was the quintessential New Yorker. He not only grew up there but he worked there too.    When I was growing up the most fun I ever had was going to work with him.   I would hold his hand as we walked the streets of New York in awe of the sights and sounds around me.   For most of his working life his office was on 49th Street and Madison Ave this only changed at the end when his studio closed and he needed to find a new space to work.  Even when he worked on Madison Ave we would walk through Times Square to get to his office. I always held on real tight because back in those days the area wasn't as safe and nice as it is now.  As I mentioned he moved into a new space to work as a freelancer at the end of his career, this new office/studio was in the heart of Times Square.   I remember visiting him there and watching the streets below amazed at how many people passed by.   I would watch the giant screen at the top of the Times Square building and see where the ball was kept for New Years Eve.  Today whenever I walk through Times Square I always think of my Dad --- I could almost feel my hand in his.....

One Times Square written and illustrated by Joe McKendry brought back all the wonderful memories I have  of visiting New York.   One of my first real jobs was in Mid Town Manhattan and I would walk through Times Square every day.   My father had shown me all the short cuts to take.   I wish I had this book back then, it would have been wonderful to know the history of this iconic area of NYC.  I had no idea that this building is "One Times Square", it never dawned on me that it is called "Times Square" because the NY Times newspaper was published from there.   I also didn't know that back when it was built it was considered one of the tallest buildings in the world. Besides being well written and not just a dry history book the illustrations are wonderful.   Mr McKendry has created images that are nostalgic and new at the same time.   This isn't a stuffy history book but a fascinating story of one of the most well known places in the world.  While it is written for the middle grade reader it is definitely something I would give a grown up ---- especially if they love New York like I do.   It would make a great gift!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Flashback Tuesday: Flotsam written and illustrated by David Wiesner

This past week has been a trying one because of Hurricane Sandy.   I live in NJ and while I was lucky not to have any damage other friends and family were not.   On top of everything else my beloved Jersey Shore is in ruins.   I am sure we will recover and that rebuilding won't take too long.  

Flotsam written and illustrated by David Wiesner is a Caldecott winning book that is the perfect tribute to summer vacations down at the Shore.   When I first saw this book I thought it was amazing.  Even though it is a wordless book it "tells" a wonderfully magical tale of magic and discovery.   I loved it even more when I realized the images are of the Jersey Shore.   I was thrilled to see the LBI (Long Beach Island) beach tag in one of the images.   LBI has been my sole vacation spot for many years.   I love the ocean and the beaches --- to me there is nothing better to do than sit on the beach and read a book. David Wiesner talked about his summers on NJ beaches growing up in interviews when the book was first published---he is after all a native son.   I think this book is a great reminder of the magic of the ocean and thrill of simple discoveries.   Hopefully the New Jersey coastline will rebound even better than before so that future generations can uncover the magic  that is "the Shore"!