New York State's 2020 Great Reads from Great Places  Selection


Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress's Center for the Book during the National Book Festival. Each book is selected by a Center for the Book state affiliate or state library and most are for children and young readers. Books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage.

For 2020 New York State has selected Jennifer Thermes' Manhattan: Mapping the Story of an Island. From before its earliest settlement to the vibrant metropolis that exists today, the island of Manhattan has always been a place of struggle, growth, and radical transformation. Humans, history, and natural events have shaped this tiny sliver of land for more than 400 years. In Manhattan, travel back in time to discover how a small rodent began an era of rapid change for the island. Learn about immigration, the slave trade, and the people who built New York City. See how a street plan projected the city’s future, and how epic fires and storms led to major feats of engineering above and below ground. Through dramatic illustrations, informative sidebars, and detailed maps inspired by historic archives, Manhattan explores the rich history that still draws people from all around the world to the island’s shores today. From The Battery downtown up to Inwood, every inch of the island has a story to tell.


 Jennifer Thermes & The Gread Read




Jennifer Thermes & KidLitTV




Maps! Explore old maps. Compare them to new maps. What’s changed?

Make your own map: of your house, a park nearby, an imaginary island.

Cause/Effect: identify some of the cause and effect relationships in the book.

Point of View: How would a beaver tell the story of the island?


Additional Reading

Picture Books and Primary Sources

2020 Great Reads List from all 50 States & Territories