Books Set in Cities

Since we’ve spent so much time in our homes this last year and a half, we’ve been exploring new cities with books! Here are some of our favorites including real cities and imaginary ones!

Coquí in the City
By Nomar Perez
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593109038 | Dial Books
Miguel’s pet frog, Coquí, is always with him: as he greets his neighbors in San Juan, buys quesitos from the panadería, and listens to his abuelo’s story about meeting baseball legend Roberto Clemente. Then Miguel learns that he and his parents are moving to the U.S. mainland, which means leaving his beloved grandparents, home in Puerto Rico, and even Coquí behind. Life in New York City is overwhelming, with unfamiliar buildings, foods, and people. But when he and Mamá go exploring, they find a few familiar sights that remind them of home, and Miguel realizes there might be a way to keep a little bit of Puerto Rico with him – including the love he has for Coquí – wherever he goes.

Dream Street
By Tricia Elam Walker
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525581109 | Anne Schwartz Books
Welcome to Dream Street – the best street in the world! On Dream Street, love between generations rules, everyone is special, and the warmth of the neighborhood shines. Meet kids like Azaria, who loves to jump double-Dutch one leg at a time; Zion, whose dream is to become a librarian; and cousins Ede and Tari, who dream of creating a picture book together one day. Meet grown-ups like Mr. Sidney, a retired mail carrier who greets everyone with the words, “Don’t wait to have a great day. Create one!” and Ms. Sarah, whose voice is only a whisper but who has stories between the lines of her face that she’ll share when you come close. A magical story from the critically acclaimed author of Nana Akua Goes to School and a Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award winning illustrator. Illuminating this vivid cast of characters are vibrant, joyful illustrations that make this neighborhood – based on the Roxbury neighborhood in Boston where the author and illustrator grew up together as cousins – truly sing. This book is a perfect way for parents to share with their children the importance of community.

Escape to Witch City
By E. Latimer
312 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919316 | Tundra Books
Emmaline Black has a secret. She can hear the rhythm of heartbeats. Not just her own, but others’ too. It’s a rhythm she’s learned to control, and that can only mean one thing . . . Emma’s a witch. In a world where a sentence of witchcraft comes with dire consequences and all children who have reached the age of thirteen are tested to ensure they have no witch blood, Emma must attempt to stamp out her power before her own test comes. But the more she researches, the more she begins to suspect that her radically anti-witch aunt and mother are hiding something – the truth about their sister, her Aunt Lenore, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances years ago. The day of the test comes, and Emma’s results not only pair her up with strange new friends, but set her on a course to challenge everything she’s ever been taught about magic, and reveal long-buried family secrets. It seems witches may not have been so easy to banish after all. Secret cities, untapped powers, missing family members – Emma is about to discover a whole new world.

My Little Golden Book About New York City
By Apple Jordan and Melanie Demmer
24 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593304471 | Golden Books
Get ready to explore New York City with Poppy the Pigeon as your guide! This Little Golden Book highlights major attractions of the Big Apple including the Empire State Building, the Apollo Theater, Ellis Island, and the High Line. Plus there are great suggestions of things to do such as ice skate at Rockefeller Center, ride the carousel in Central Park, and eat cannoli in Little Italy! Perfect for families with young kids visiting New York City, NYC residents who wish to discover more of their hometown, and anyone who wants to learn about a fun city from the comfort of their home.

My Two Border Towns
By David Bowles
Illustrated by Erika Meza
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593111048 | Kokila
Early one Saturday morning, a boy prepares for a trip to The Other Side/El Otro Lado. It’s close – just down the street from his school – and it’s a twin of where he lives. To get there, his father drives their truck along the Rio Grande and over a bridge, where they’re greeted by a giant statue of an eagle. Their outings always include a meal at their favorite restaurant, a visit with Tío Mateo at his jewelry store, a cold treat from the paletero, and a pharmacy pickup. On their final and most important stop, they check in with friends seeking asylum and drop off much-needed supplies. My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, with stunning watercolor illustrations by Erika Meza, is the loving story of a father and son’s weekend ritual, a demonstration of community care, and a tribute to the fluidity, complexity, and vibrancy of life on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Over the Shop
By JonArno Lawson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201475 | Candlewick
A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space – until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.

Paris by Phone
By Pamela Druckerman
Illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399165061 | Putnam BFYR
When Josephine Harris decides that Paris is where she really belongs, all it takes is a quick call on her magical phone to whisk her away. The city of lights has fancy cafés, baguettes under every arm, the Eiffel Tower, and a fabulous new family who can’t wait to show her around. The city is a feast for the senses, but each new discovery brings a pang of melancholy. There’s something missing here. Could it be the person who loves Josephine’s best – her own mother?

Santa in the City
By Tiffany D. Jackson
Illustrated by Reggie Brown
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593110256 | Dial Books
It’s two weeks before Christmas, and Deja is worried that Santa might not be able to visit her – after all, as a city kid, she doesn’t have a chimney for him to come down and none of the parking spots on her block could fit a sleigh, let alone eight reindeer! But with a little help from her family, community, and Santa himself, Deja discovers that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in her city. With bold, colorful illustrations that capture the joy of the holidays, this picture book from award-winning author Tiffany D. Jackson and illustrator Reggie Brown is not to be missed.

Take Back the Block
By Chrystal D. Giles
240 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593175170 | Random House BFYR
Wes Henderson has the best style in sixth grade. That – and hanging out with his crew (his best friends since little-kid days) and playing video games – is what he wants to be thinking about at the start of the school year, not the protests his parents are always dragging him to. But when a real estate developer makes an offer to buy Kensington Oaks, the neighborhood Wes has lived his whole life, everything changes. The grownups are supposed to have all the answers, but all they’re doing is arguing. Even Wes’s best friends are fighting. And some of them may be moving. Wes isn’t about to give up the only home he’s ever known. Wes has always been good at puzzles, and he knows there has to be a missing piece that will solve this puzzle and save the Oaks. But can he find it . . . before it’s too late? Exploring community, gentrification, justice, and friendship, Take Back the Block introduces an irresistible 6th grader and asks what it means to belong – to a place and a movement – and to fight for what you believe in.

Tales from the Inner City
By Shaun Tan
224 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265202 | Tundra Books
A young girl’s cat brightens the lives of everyone in the neighborhood. A woman and her dog are separated by time and space, awaiting the day they will be reunited. A race of fish build a society parallel to our own. And a bunch of office managers suddenly turn into frogs, but find that their new lives aren’t so bad. The ambitious, unique and provocative Tales From the Inner City draws on the success of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival and Tales From Outer Suburbia and updates its sensibilities for a new generation. Combining his poignant and sensitive short stories with surreal, luminous paintings, Tan turns his astute lens on the environment, cities, family and the relationships between human and animals. This work opens a portal to the imagination and captures the beauty, joy and tragedy in the everyday lives of kids, teens and adults.

The Little Library
By Margaret McNamara
Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525578338 | Schwartz & Wade
Everyone in Mr. Tiffin’s class couldn’t be more excited that the new school library has finally opened. Everyone except Jake. Jake is a slow and careful reader. Sometimes he reads the same page more than once to figure everything out. And he often feels left behind on class Library Day. All that changes when Librarian Beck notices Jake running his fingers across the grooves of a brand-new bookshelf and offers him an old, worn book: Woodworking for Young Hands. Jake checks the book out, studies the pictures and instructions, and renews the book again and again. When the school year comes to an end, Jake has the perfect gift idea for the librarian who changed his life – and he makes it with his own two hands.

Witches of Brooklyn
By Sophie Escabasse
240 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593119273 | Random House Graphic
Could there really be witches in Brooklyn?! Effie’s aunts are weird. Like, really WEIRD. Really, really, really WEIRD! The secretly-magic kind of weird and that makes Effie wonder . . . does this mean she can do magic, too? Life in Brooklyn takes a strange twist for Effie as she learns more about her family and herself. With new friends who will do whatever they can to be there for her, a cursed pop-star, and her magically-inclined aunts – Effie’s life is about to get interesting.

Books Featuring Witches

Now that spooky season is almost upon is, it’s time to magic up a list of our fave witchy books. But be warned: they’ll put a spell on you!

Aster and the Accidental Magic
By Thom Pico
Illustrated by Karensac
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593118849 | Random House Graphic
Quiet . . . birds . . . nature. . . . That’s what Aster expects when her parents move their whole family to the middle of nowhere. It’s just her (status: super-bored), her mom and dad (status: busy with science), her brother (status: has other plans), and . . . magic? In her new home, Aster meets a mysterious old woman with a herd of dogs who gives her a canine companion of her own. But when she and her dog Buzz are adventuring in the forest, they run into a trickster spirit who gives Aster three wishes. After wishing for the ability to understand and talk to her dog, she becomes only able to talk in dog language . . . and the trouble she gets into is just starting. Maybe the middle of nowhere will be more interesting than Aster thought.

Escape to Witch City
By E. Latimer
312 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919316 | Tundra Books
Emmaline Black has a secret. She can hear the rhythm of heartbeats. Not just her own, but others’ too. It’s a rhythm she’s learned to control, and that can only mean one thing . . . Emma’s a witch. In a world where a sentence of witchcraft comes with dire consequences and all children who have reached the age of thirteen are tested to ensure they have no witch blood, Emma must attempt to stamp out her power before her own test comes. But the more she researches, the more she begins to suspect that her radically anti-witch aunt and mother are hiding something – the truth about their sister, her Aunt Lenore, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances years ago. The day of the test comes, and Emma’s results not only pair her up with strange new friends, but set her on a course to challenge everything she’s ever been taught about magic, and reveal long-buried family secrets. It seems witches may not have been so easy to banish after all. Secret cities, untapped powers, missing family members – Emma is about to discover a whole new world.

Evie and the Truth About Witches
By John Martz
64 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735271005 | Tundra Books
Evie wants to be scared, and the usual scary stories just aren’t doing it for her anymore. When she stumbles across a different sort of book, The Truth about Witches, she hopes she’s found something thrilling . . . but she’s forbidden by a kindly shopkeeper from reading the last page out loud! Naturally, her curiosity gets the better of her, and upon reading the last page out loud – a real summoning spell – Evie is spirited off to a strange land of magic, weird creatures, feasts, and actual witches! They’re not as scary as they seem, until Evie asks to join their ranks . . . and only once she does is her quest for true scariness satisfied . . .

Little Witch Hazel
By Phoebe Wahl
96 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264892 | Tundra Books
Little Witch Hazel is a tiny witch who lives in the forest, helping creatures big and small. She’s a midwife, an intrepid explorer, a hard worker and a kind friend. In this four-season volume, Little Witch Hazel rescues an orphaned egg, goes sailing on a raft, solves the mystery of a haunted stump and makes house calls to fellow forest dwellers. But when Little Witch Hazel needs help herself, will she get it in time? Little Witch Hazel is a beautiful ode to nature, friendship, wild things and the seasons that only Phoebe Wahl could create: an instant classic and a book that readers will pore over time and time again.

Merry Witchmas
By Petrell Ozbay and Tess LaBella
Illustrated by Sonya Abby
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781635923186 | Boyds Mills Press
Ginger spends a lot of her time creating spells, and flying through the night on her broom. But she is different from the other witches – because she also ADORES Christmas! Even with Ginger’s good deeds and endless Christmas cheer, she’s never received a single visit from Santa. What’s a Christmas-loving Halloween witch supposed to do? In this twist on the Christmas holiday’s traditional “believe” concept, Ginger’s wish of a Merry Witchmas comes true thanks to some holiday magic and good cheer.

River Magic
By Ellen Booraem
256 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525428046 | Dial Books
Donna’s always liked her life by the river – that is, until her beloved aunt Annabelle died in a tragic kayaking accident. Now money’s tight, her mom works all the time, and her best friend, Rachel, would rather hang out with her basketball teammates than with Donna. When a strange old woman moves in next door and hires Donna to clean part-time, she figures this is the perfect chance to get over her friendship troubles and help her family out – especially since the woman pays in gold. Turns out, Donna’s new neighbor is an ancient, ornery thunder mage, and it doesn’t take much to make her angry. Before Donna knows it, Rachel is in danger and Donna’s family is about to lose their home. To save the day, Donna will need the help of a quirky new friend and the basketball team . . . plus the mysterious, powerful creature lurking in the river.

The Hungry Ghosts
By Miguel Flores
336 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780451479785 | Viking BFYR
Witches have been banned from Arrett for years. Which is why Milly has tried to ignore the tingling light that appears in her palm anytime she conjures up a wish. She has too many responsibilities as the oldest girl at St. George’s Orphanage to get caught up in magicks. Sweet, quirky Cilla, though, has always longed for that power, even if it could be dangerous for her. Milly has always kept an eye out for her, but then, in a case of mistaken identity, Cilla is kidnapped by an angry, exiled witch who believes she’s the one with magicks – not Milly. Desperate to bring Cilla back to St. George’s, Milly sets out to find her with a sarcastic young Wind stuck in the form of a cat as her companion. Along the way, they meet an independent young broomstick and gentle giant – and a whole world Milly has never seen before. As she searches high and low for Cilla, one thing becomes clear: she’ll have to face the stirrings of forbidden magicks inside herself in order to rescue a friend who has become more like a sister.

The Legend of the Christmas Witch
By Dan Murphy and Aubrey Plaza
Illustrated by Julia Iredale
56 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593350805 | Viking BFYR
Gather ‘round the fire to hear a Christmas legend that has never been told before . . . until now. Each year a mysterious figure sweeps into town, leaving behind strange gifts in the night. No, not Santa Claus, but his sister . . . The Christmas Witch. Her story begins many, many years ago when her brother was torn away from her as a child. Raised alone by a witch of the woods, Kristtōrn’s powers of magic grew, as did her temper. Determined to find her long lost twin, she set out on a perilous journey across oceans to find him. But what she found instead was a deep-seated fear of her powers and a confrontation that would leave the fate of Christmas hanging in the balance.

There’s a Witch in Your Book
By Tom Fletcher
Illustrated by Greg Abbott
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593125151 | Random House BFYR
A grumpy little witch has thrown a magic spell at you! If you can capture it, you can use your finger wand to make magic yourself in this interactive book. But, be careful! Your bewitched finger wand might be more powerful than you think! Look for Tom Fletcher and Greg Abbott’s companion books for more read-aloud fun: There’s a Dragon in Your BookThere’s an Elf in Your BookThere’s an Alien in Your Book, and There’s a Superhero in Your Book!

Twitchy Witchy Itch
By Priscilla Tey
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763689810 | Candlewick
Itch the witch is having company over for tea. As the clock counts down to tea o’clock, Itch’s mind is in a tizzy: is her house too twitchy? Is her home too itchy? Zipping and zooming, dusting and brooming, Itch sweeps and bewitches the mess away (just in the nick of time). But as soon as her two guests walk in, Itch’s housekeeping comes unraveled. How will Itch tame such an itchy, glitchy, fidgety mess? Rising star Priscilla Tey uses computer-aided design (and evokes familiar computer glitches) to present a delightfully meta, intricately illustrated story that dazzles as it amuses.

Where’s the Witch?
Illustrated by Ingela P Arrhenius
10 Pages | Ages 0-2 | Board Book
ISBN 9781536207538 | Nosy Crow
Gently spooky creatures hide behind bright felt flaps in this Halloween offering. A perfect book to share with very little ones. Five stylishly illustrated spreads show a series of gently spooky creatures hiding behind bright felt flaps in this Halloween offering. A mirror on the final spread makes for a satisfying ending to the book’s search-and-find inquiries. A perfect book to share with very little ones.

Witches of Brooklyn
By Sophie Escabasse
240 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593119273 | Random House Graphic
Could there really be witches in Brooklyn?! Effie’s aunts are weird. Like, really WEIRD. Really, really, really WEIRD! The secretly-magic kind of weird and that makes Effie wonder . . . does this mean she can do magic, too? Life in Brooklyn takes a strange twist for Effie as she learns more about her family and herself. With new friends who will do whatever they can to be there for her, a cursed pop-star, and her magically-inclined aunts – Effie’s life is about to get interesting.