The Empire State Building

New York City has to be one of the greatest places in America, if not the world. Luckily for us, many authors have chronicled The Big Apple's antics in a way just right for kids.

Here are some of the books available. This is not yet a complete list, but I'm adding books to the list daily. If you wish to purchase any of these books, click on either the title or the book cover to be directed to As a warning, I have put up pictures of the book covers to give you somewhat an idea of the style of each book (I know, I know. "Don't judge a book by its cover") so the pages may load slowly, depending on the speed of your internet connection.

The categories below are sorted by approximate age group and topical categories. Feel free to browse around. The same links are located on the left side of your screen. To return back to this page, simply click on the "Welcome" link on the left.

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Other Pages of Interest:
Fiction & Historical Fiction: General Books About New York City (Nonfiction) | Fiction NYC Picture Books and "Easy Reader" Stories (Ages 4-8) | Fiction NYC Books (Ages 9-12) | New York Fiction for Young Adults | New York Historical Fiction (Colonial Period and Revolutionary War) | New York Historical Fiction (Ellis Island & Immigration) | New York Historical Fiction (Life in the 1800s) | New York Historical Fiction (Life in the 1900s)

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NYC Locations: The Statue of Liberty | The Empire State Building | Central Park | NYC Art Museums (Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, etc.) | NYC's American Museum of Natural History | Harlem Books (Including books about the Harlem Renaissance) | Chinatown Books | Little Italy Books | The New York City Subway System | Brooklyn Books | The Bronx Books | Queens Books | Staten Island Books | Long Island Books | Upstate New York Books | New York State Books

Life and Travel in NYC: Thanksgiving in New York City | Christmas in New York City | New York Sports Teams and Players The NYC Fire Department (FDNY) and NY Police Department (NYPD) | General Books About Cities | New York City and New York State Test Preparation and Study Guides | New York Regents Review Books | Parenting in New York City | New York Travel Guides for Families with Children

NYC Toys, Puzzles, and Games (For Kids & Adults) | Coupon Codes

Fiction and Nonfiction for Beginning Readers

Ding Dong Ding Dong

By Margie Palatini
Outrageous puns, sly references, and wonderfully exaggerated pastels are just the ticket from the team behind Zoom Broom. The Big Guy is a giant ape, neat in his white shirt and khakis, trying to sell Ape-On Cosmetics door-to-door. Despite his degree in Monkey Business, he can't seem to unload any Ape-ricot Lip Gloss or Banana Cream Facial. Clutching his selling handbook, he decides to move from the wilds to ``Gotham. Metropolis. Big Apple.'' He's ready to work his way up, even when he's handed a pail and a squeegee. The Big Galoot works his way up to the 81st floor of the Empire State Building where a blonde beauty inspires him to try one more sale. He's got her in the palm of his hand, when he takes a huge tumble and is discovered by a Hollywood agent. Readers won't need to know King Kong or recognize the numerous cultural and commercial homages to be in stitches. Fine's luxurious palette and angled perspectives add to the broad humor.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

Sector 7

By David Wiesner

Caldecott Honor Books (2000)

In another wondrous, wordless picture book by Caldecott Medal winner David Wiesner (Tuesday and June 29, 1999), a class visiting the Empire State Building finds complete cloud cover and no visibility. One boy makes friends with a cloud (identifiable in the mists by the red mittens, hat, and scarf and swipes from the boy), and goes AWOL on a wonderful adventure. The cloud whisks him away to the "Sector 7" floating cloud factory, a bizarre sky station that looks like a Victorian design for a submarine.

Hiding behind his new cumulonimbus friend, the boy enters an area resembling Grand Central Station (complete with "Arrivals" and "Departures" boards) and watches officious human types in uniform giving the clouds their weather assignments. When the clouds complain to the boy that their assigned shapes are boring, he, a talented artist, creates new blueprints for them. The stuffy grownups are furious when clouds start emerging in the shape of fantastic fish; they shout at the clouds, tear up the new designs, and escort the boy back to his school group. But the revolt of the clouds is unstoppable now, and in the last few pages the skies over Manhattan suddenly get a lot more interesting.

Description from

From levitating frogs to giant vegetables that take wing, Wiesner resuscitates his fondness for flying in another stretch of his imagination. In a wordless story told through picture panels and murals, a young boy is overtaken by fog on a class field trip to the top of the Empire State Building. He befriends a snowmanlike cloud who dons the boy's red cap and scarf and wings him to an ominous factory in the sky. Dubbed Sector 7, this imposing, industrial hunk of machinery is a Grand Central Station for clouds, from which they're all dispatched. The boy learns that clouds can freely take on various shapes, and soon has them twisting and stretching themselves into fish, to the dismay of the grim, uniformed workers. In a showy display, the clouds invade Manhattan, surprising cats at windows and children below. Wiesner's fans will rediscover all his favorite motifsdreams overlapping reality, metamorphosing creatures, and morerendered in precise watercolors with tilted perspectives. Others will find themselves scratching their heads as to his purpose, other than indulging in elliptical displays and in pointlessly defying convention.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

"Finding shapes in the clouds is a grand pastime on a lazy day. But what makes those shapes anyway? and what if you had the power to alter them, to create new forms and details when amorphous arrangements are the norm? In a fittingly wordless book, this is exactly what happens to one young boy on a field trip to the top of the Empire State Building-where anything can happen, if movies are to be believed. This time, as the building is veiled in mist, a friendly cloud appears to the boy and after a few playful moments takes him on a tour of Sector 7, a factory-like satellite where clouds are shaped, classified, and distributed. The structure is like a Victorian railroad station with signs noting arrival and departure times, but tubes shaped like large funnels, not tracks, disperse the clouds to their assigned locations. The organization is hierarchical, regimented, and traditional. Perhaps that is why the playful cloud interjects a new element-a boy with imagination who can draw. And draw he does, fantastic shapes of sea life that confound the regular staff members who do not appreciate his artistry. Expelled for insubordination, he is sent via cloud-carrier back to the Empire State Building just in time to rejoin his schoolmates for the return trip. But there is a different aura about him, and the clouds he inspired are amazing onlookers-much to the consternation of Sector 7! As with all wordless books, individual readers will supply the "text"; consequently, interpretations of exactly what's going on may differ depending upon age, sophistication, and experience. The illustrations, ranging from full-page spreads to small vignettes, are startlingly and powerfully conceived, the fanciful cloud-shapes both funny and elegant. Reminiscent of both William Pene du Bois's Lion and Pat Cummings's C.L.O.U.D.S., the book nevertheless ascends to new heights. In fact, it definitely inspires a bit of sky-watching."

Description from Horn Book, (STARRED REVIEW)

Fiction For Older Readers


By David MacAulay
This fictional account of the dismantling and removal of the Empire State Building describes the structure of a skyscraper and explains how such an edifice would be demolished.

Description from Publisher

It is not a work of nonfiction but a work of fantasy, and not the story of the making of the skyscraper but the story of the unmaking of a very particular one, the Empire State Building . . . The exquisite drawing style that marked Mr. Macaulay's earlier works on architecture remains as whimsical as ever."

Description from The New York Times Book Review

In this wonderfully urbane fantasy, the Empire State Building is dismantled after being purchased by a foreigner who wishes to re-erect it closer to home.

Description from Publishers Weekly

Vampire State Building

By Elizabeth Levy
Sam Bamford loves playing online chess with his friend Vlad, who is from Romania. Vlad says he's a beginner, like Sam, but he beats Sam every time. It doesn't matter to Sam where Vlad lives. But Sam's brother, Robert, is sure Vlad knows vampires, since the original Dracula lived in Romania. Maybe he is even related to one.

Then Vlad tells Sam he's coming to New York, where Sam lives, for a chess tournament. A beginner in a chess tournament? Is Vlad keeping secrets from Sam? And is it possible that Vlad really does come from a family of vampires-and now they're coming for a visit?

Description from Publisher

Right On, Winky Blue!

By Pamela Jane
Illustrated by Debbie Tilley. Rosie is thrilled when her pet parakeet, Winky Blue, wins a talk show quiz on WFUN radio show in New York City. But when her beloved bird is disqualified and her best friend's pet gerbil gets stranded on top of the Empire State Building, it looks as though Rosie's hopes -- and Cinnamon the gerbil, are in for a big fall!

Description from Publisher

Empire Dreams

By Wendy Wax
Like many New Yorkers in 1930, Julie Singer, 11, is fascinated by the construction of the Empire State Building. Her interest grows from keeping a scrapbook of newspaper articles to secret trips to watch the Mohawk "Skywalkers." Julie also has another secret-she has discovered that her father is unemployed. With this troubling knowledge, she secretly convinces her uncle to hire her in his dress-collar factory. Julie's secrets lead her to a new friend, the son of a Mohawk construction worker. As the story progresses, the girl comes to realize that strength and courage take different forms, and often develop through the support of family and friends. In the end, the family looks forward to a leaner but happy lifestyle. While the conclusion is pat and a bit unrealistic, the plot does flow smoothly and quickly. The author has used newspaper clippings and Julie's scrapbook to weave factual information into the story. Appropriately placed, gray-toned illustrations reflect the time period.

Description from School Library Journal

Nonfiction For Older Readers

The Empire State Building

By Craig A. Doherty & Katherine M. Doherty
This capsule history of a wonderful structure is full of the facts and figures that make that Art Deco landmark such a marvel. Doherty and Doherty recreate the tempo of the project--rush, rush, taking little more than a year from start to finish--as set against the appalling Depression-era conditions that surrounded the building's construction: When their jobs were finished, many laborers were sent straight to the bread line. The sheer magnitude of the endeavor makes the book captivating, and sidebars add interest, including information on the glorification of the building in the movies, from King Kong to Independence Day. Full-color and black- and-white period and contemporary photographs convey a sense of timelessness--the great slab is fairly unchanged, nearly 70 years later.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

A look at the famous skyscraper from conception through construction to renovation, with interesting sidebars on such trivia as its place in films. The structure was an engineering and construction feat as revealed in this well-written and well-researched historical account. Original black-and-white photographs of the building as it was built and full-color photographs of it today enhance the text. A valuable source for information on this American landmark.

Description from School Library Journal Although now supplanted from the title of tallest building in the U.S., the Empire State Building remains an icon of America. This book reviews the history of the building, from the "idea" stage through construction. That it could be built at all relied on several other revolutionary developments, the Otis elevator and improved availability of steel. With a nod to Henry Ford's contributions to manufacturing, the building was constructed rapidly, in assembly line fashion. Supplies were delivered by a small gauge railroad built inside the structure. The text is full of fascinating information, supplemented with many period photographs. It will be of great interest to anyone planning a visit to New York City, as well as to budding architects and engineers, or to kids in the "how do they make things" stage. Part of the "Building America" series.

Description from Children's Literature

Joe and the Skyscraper:
The Empire State Building in New York City

By Dietrich Neumann
The Empire State Building in New York City is probably the most famous building in America, and not only because of King Kong! When it was being built almost 70 years ago, 3,500 workers were employed on its site. One of them was sixteen-year-old Joe Carbonelli, whose job was to carry drinking water up to the other workers. Joe's story explains how the world's tallest skyscraper was built in only 18 months, a tower 1,250 feet high with 102 floors. People called it the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Description from Publisher

The Empire State Building

By Gini Holland
Holland begins with a short history of New York City, going on to discuss he Birth of Skyscrapersand the construction of the Empire State Building--at the time the tallest building in the world. Striking photographs accompany the accessible text, which takes readers from construction of the Art Deco-style building in 1930 to its uses today. A time line is included.

Description from Horn Book

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