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Manhattan: Mapping the Story of an Island

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  230 ratings  ·  76 reviews
"An innovative look back through time, Manhattan Maps follows the history of Manhattan Island from its natural formation to the bustling city today. It explores the ways in which nature and people are connected, tracking the people who lived on Manhattan from the Lenape Indians to Dutch settlers hunting for beaver pelts to early Americans and beyond, and how they've (liter ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Harry N. Abrams
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Average rating 4.51  · 
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 ·  230 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Lisa Vegan
10 star book! Except that there is no way for it to not abruptly end, unfortunately. It covers the period from 20,000-10,000 years ago to 2018. Actually, millions of years ago but 20,000 years back in human history/habitation of the area. So anything important that happens in/about Manhattan 2019 and into the future will not be covered.

This picture book is so dense with information and images that it felt as though I was reading a full length history book. It took me longer to go from start to
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek at this book and it is STUNNING. I mean, truly stunning. I can't wait to get the final copy!! Eight out of five stars.
Panda Incognito
This beautifully illustrated, detailed history of Manhattan has a fatal flaw: it completely skips over 9/11.

At first, I thought that I had missed a page, but even though I quadruple checked, there was nothing else there. A double page spread about skyscrapers includes and labels the World Trade Center, dating it from 1973-2001, but nothing in this book directly acknowledges the cataclysmic event that is forever part of Manhattan's history.

You might imagine that the author skipped over this tragi
A well-deserved Orbis Pictus Honor winner, this picture book is filled with maps and all sorts of sidebars and information about the island of Manhattan. Starting with the flora and fauna native to the region and then moving to the arrival of the Lenape who flourished in the region, the book shows how quickly and irrevocably the area changed with the arrival of white Europeans in search of land and natural resources. Sadly, the once-robust beaver population was hunted to the point that there wer ...more
Mary Lee
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book covers all our social studies standards! Gorgeous, thorough, balanced. An amazing story of one place over time.
Michael Fitzgerald
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Howard Zinn for kiddies. Also takes the offensive position that humans are not part of nature.
20,000 years ago, the Laurentide ice sheet covering this island was melting, making way for the Lenape and other Native American tribes to inhabit the island. The Lenape names it Mannahatta!
Thus begins this incredibly wonderful and pictorial history of Manhattan told bit by bit from the early Dutch history, through their giving over to the British, then fought for and taken by Americans in the Revolutionary War. That settled the ownership, but Jennifer Thermes gives us readers so much more.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Patience and Fortitude have been residing there since 1911. It is the site of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. It is the home of the tallest building in the world, the Empire State Building completed in 1931, until 1971. Overlooking the East River, the accommodations for the United Nations have been there for more than seventy years. It is here, in Times Square, each new year begins with a countdown.

The island of Manhattan has a recorded past dating back to the Lenape, Native Americans, at l
I love this book! It is such a gem. Loads of interesting information on NY that makes you want to learn more about some of the details that the author talks about. It made me want to know more about the elevated trains, the elevators that didn't have safety brakes, the great blizzard of 1888, the Mohawk ironworkers who built the tall buildings and bridges, the 350 year old English Elmtree and more.

This book spans a time when the Island was inhabited by the Lenape, and the visit by Henry Hudson t
Sandy Brehl
Marvelously intricate and detailed, this encompasses the complexity of time and space as relates to a small mass of land that many believe is the center of the planet. Intriguing and informative, a great read-through and also a long term reference.
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Informative and fun - I learned so much about Manhattan and it seemed very balanced in its coverage of different groups and different eras, at least as much as could be possible in a shorter book for younger audiences. Very well done and it was a very entertaining read!
What an interesting book and a great approach to the history of Manhattan! Arranged chronologically, each section highlights aspects of Manhattan’s growth, from the time of the Native Lenapes through today. Along with history, attitudes about the city, its people, and its design as it evolved and environmental issues are discussed. The tone is lighthearted, but the facts are accurate and the sidebars provide additional information. The text did not shy away from discussing some injustices right ...more
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: MANHATTAN: MAPPING THE STORY OF AN ISLAND by Jennifer Thermes, Abrams Books for Young Readers, August 2019, 64p., ISBN: 978-1-4197-3655-1

“Skyscrapers and subways and stations
Staring up at the United Nations”
-- Alice Cooper, “Big Apple Dreamin’ (Hippo)” (1973)

Back when the city only occupied the southern tip of the island,

“The Collect Pond sat north of the city, fed by an underground spring. It was a kettle pond, scooped out from the land when the glacier that covered the island r
Oct 07, 2019 added it
For publishers wondering how to address tricky topics in picture books, look no further.

"From the start the brutal practice of buying selling, and trading human beings from Africa and the Caribbean was a part of New York's business. Under Dutch rule, some enslaved people could purchase limited freedom for themselves. But the English were harsher and revoked many of their rights." p.10
That's pretty much all it says about slavery.

"Millions of people from around the world have been coming to the Is
Nadine Jones
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was fascinating! It’s full of great colored pencil & watercolor artwork, with informative sidebars on almost every page, and of course it’s full of maps.

I grew up in the area and I’ve been to Manhattan many times, but I didn’t know much about the history beyond the basics (Wall St was a wall, Olmstead designed Central Park, that sort of thing). I had no idea that the oldest tree in Manhattan is an elm tree in Washington Sq Park - I walked right past this tree last spring and didn’t even kn
Thermes has created an absolutely amazing book about the history of the island of Manhattan. Not only did I learn a lot reading it, but I thoroughly enjoyed studying each of the maps to see all the changes that occurred over time. The book is not a complete history of the island, after all it's a picture book. But it gives a nice overview of the events that made a contribution to the development of the island. Major events are illustrated, but at least half the book is made up of the illustrated ...more
Julie Fortenberry
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Gorgeous watercolors. An epic undertaking, rigorously researched and lovingly detailed.
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous and fascinating. This is probably more for middle grade than middle school, but any age will find something of interest. It's a simple history of Manhattan. Though the book has more details than most people would know, there are many things that are just mentioned. It is somewhat multicultural - mentioning the Lenape inhabitants and the African American ones. The illustration is beautiful. Beware! It will not fit upright easily on standard bookshelves, because it is tall.
Emily Masters
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
excellent book about the history of manhattan island, staring with the indigenous tribes who lived there. it doesn't shy away from the ugly parts of history- beavers being hunted out, slaves being brought in, african americans being forced out of the land they bought. has great illustrations and was an informative and easy read.
Melissa Mcavoy
A great large-format picture book history packed with fascinating facts and charming, detailed drawings. Obviously this is great for anyone with a tie to New York but even without a connection it works to tell the story of development and the trade-offs, tragedies and successes as a city emerges.
Maria Caplin
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-studies
Perfect for geography, mapping, exploration, immigration. Would like to think about chunking it and use it all year perhaps a hook? Lots of text
Amaia Clift
Manhattan Mapping the Story of an Island by Jennifer Thermes Manhattan: Mapping the Story of an Island was a fantastic read! I loved how informational it was about how Manhattan was created. I had no idea that we had boughten the land from the Lenape and they were the one's who called the island Mannahatta, or how that beavers flourished there for so many years. I liked how the story began with the Lenape and continued explaining the settlements and how Dutch New Amsterdam came to be and how the streets we know now such as broadway and wall street ca ...more
NCTE Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book 2020

Super fascinating look at how Manhattan has evolved over time (particularly the last 400 years)—growing and changing based on the needs of the people living there. The design elements (fonts, large format, the way the text and images work together) are fabulous and will totally enthrall the young reader in looking, looking, looking.

MAPS are the primary visual element and oh, my goodness, are they amazing, revealing how New York has changed over time. (Ther
Megan Sweeney
This book is a detailed account of Manhattan and the island of New York's history from the very beginning until the present. It was written by Jennifer Thermes. Before the arrival of the Europeans, the island was inhabited by the Lenape who called it Mannahatta, meaning "islands of many hills". The book describes how the land was colonized by Europeans and eventually turned into a bustling city. It goes into detail of how Central Park was planned and built, and lots of ups and downs that are def ...more
Samuel Sharp
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is a beautiful historical text that tells the rich history of one of the most populated cities in America. Manhattan: Mapping the Story of an Island, presents a creative timeline that progresses through the history and colonization of this New York area. Throughout the book, it maps the journey of progress and construction across time and tells of the many spots located in the city. From uptown to downtown, from the park to the Empire State Building, this vibrant book tells the story o ...more
Jazmín Carranza
This book informs us about how Manhattan evolves in becoming a city. The illustrations in this book are amazing. You don’t need to read the book to know what the story is going to be about. The book highlights major events that happened in this area. I was not aware that Manhattan was an island that had the Lenape tribe. They called Manhattan, “Mannahatta” which is how Manhattan got its name. I love how the author uses proper language for this story. Allowing students to understand that this cou ...more
Becky B
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A look at how the island of Manhattan has changed over the past ~1000 years. From the days when it was wild, to when the Lenape lived on the island, to the arrival of Europeans and then how buildings and roads developed and changed the island till present day.

This was a fascinating look at what has changed and what has remained the same. The book also takes time to look at how the changes were not always just towards various people groups, acknowledging past wrongs. It looks at city planning in
Abi Morrill
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The book on Manhattan: Mapping the Story of an Island is uninteresting format on how to learn about the history of Manhattan. I thought I knew the origin of Manhattan at least a little, but this book taught me so much that I did not know about the island of Manhattan and how it came to be the most populated island. I liked the way that the book portrayed the island in a positive light and made it look very inviting. As Manhattan is an island most dream about living on. This book could be used fo ...more
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent progression of the great changes this small (13 miles by 2.5 miles) piece of real estate has gone through. Eras, people, bridges, buildings---so much to absorb on the large two-page spreads. Many more questions arise about this fascinating place, know throughout the whole world. Extensive timeline squeezes into one of the last pages. One more large page offers a selective bibliography.
Unfortunately, for those who borrow this from a library, both sets of endpapers feature a detailed map
A great book about the island of Manhattan from Earth's beginnings to today. I don't really know anything about New York and this was all news to me! I found several places that I would like to know more about and think this was a good general introduction. The history is terrible in places, like the rest of American history. The parts where we drove away the natives and then bulldozed the nice African neighborhood to make Central Park were disheartening. I can't imagine walking through the park ...more
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JENNIFER THERMES is a children’s book author, illustrator, and map illustrator. Her recent nonfiction picture books include CHARLES DARWIN’S AROUND-THE-WORLD ADVENTURE and GRANDMA GATEWOOD HIKES THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL. She has also created maps for books such as Thornghost, The Emperor’s Ostrich, and The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. Her latest book, MANHATTAN: MAPPING THE STORY OF AN ISLAND (Abra ...more

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