Keeping the City Going
Keeping the City Going

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Annotation: Caldecott Award winner Brian Floca gives a heartfelt thank you to the essential workers who keep their cities going duri... more
Catalog Number: #298519
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Atheneum
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-534-49377-8 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-9982-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-534-49377-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-9982-9
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2020036623
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Caldecott winner Floca (Locomotive, rev. 9/13) presents a love letter to New York City and its essential workers during COVID-19. "We are here at home now, watching the world through our windows. Outside, we see the city we know, but not as we've seen it before." As children peer out from their apartment windows, the streets are quiet, but not empty. There are food deliverers on bikes, sanitation workers, mail carriers, first responders, and more; an ambulance pulls into a hospital driveway, and we enter the building to see the medical professionals and support team, "everyone working through long days and worry to help patients heal." As evening falls, we're back to the neighborhood, where at seven o'clock people open their windows, clap their hands, bang pots and pans, shout, and cheer their thanks. (The appended author's note provides further context.) Floca's watercolor, ink, acrylic, and gouache art, in his beautifully realistic style, features delicate lines, light-catching hues, and pore-over-able details, much like an actual city scene. Motion-filled vignettes alternate with expansive spreads to help pace the narrative and hold readers' attention; so, too, do many of the figures' gazes, looking directly out at viewers. The text is true to events but un-alarmist, with restrained lyricism that underscores unity: "We hear the city say to us -- and we say back to the city -- that we are still here, and we are here together."
Publishers Weekly
With his signature affection for architecture and keen sense of urban space, Caldecott Medalist Floca pays tribute to the frontline workers helping to make New York City run during the pandemic. The book opens on deserted city streets bathed in soft sunshine as two tan-skinned children peer out from behind curtains: -Outside we see the city we know, but not as we-ve seen it before.- The streets may seem empty, but there-s important work being done-by transit drivers, mail carriers, fire fighters, and health-care workers, among others-and subsequent spreads celebrate an inclusive array of professionals through a sort of visual synecdoche in which vehicles represent the gloved and masked figures. In one sparsely peopled spread, an array of trucks, bearing images of bagels, fish, and other foods, stand in for those delivering -enough to fill the empty shelves.- In another, a monolithic garbage truck appears alongside -the people keeping the city clean.- Finally, celebratory images show what happens every evening at 7 p.m., when neighbors clap and cheer to thank -the people still out on the streets, driving this and that, going from here to there.- Floca brings precision and expert draftsmanship to renderings of working vehicles, centering the heroes working to get supplies out and save lives, and to the equipment that helps them do it. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2 A book from the first year of the pandemic. As children observe from their windows, "the voice of the city is low and the streets are almost empty." New York City is strangely quiet except for workers such as delivery trucks, taxi drivers, firefighters, and EMTs. Each evening, windows fill with people making noise to thank the workers and to say, "We are all still here and we are here together." Detailed color drawings depict the urban environment, its workers and their vehicles in full-page spreads with a few vignettes, alongside a matter-of-fact text. The postage carrier and the doctor gaze back at the reader, reinforcing the observational standpoint; these are snapshots of the essential workers who are "keeping the city going." An author's note provides further context. VERDICT A thoughtful book of gratitude for the essential workers with a nod to the unifying theme that we are linthistogether. An important title, it will open the door for discussion of the pandemic and its effects. Ramarie Beaver, formerly at Plano P.L., TX
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
An award-winning New York City author/illustrator thanks all the risk-taking essential workers.In the first days, weeks, and months of the Covid-19 pandemic, life on city streets changed from busy congestion to an eerie quiet. Two children, looking concerned, gaze out from their apartment-house window at a strangely empty scene. Almost the only souls about are delivering food on bikes, hauling flats in supermarkets, or driving buses, trains, and taxis. Sanitation workers, letter carriers, and utility workers continue their work on and under the streets. Firefighters, police officers, and hospital workers are busy. Diverse apartment-house dwellers play their appreciative part, though. Every evening at 7:00 they erupt into a cacophony: noisily cheering, banging pots, and blowing musical instruments. “We are here together.” The narration is in the voice of a very observant child who has not lost their sense of humor, voicing some doubts about a nonessential online purchase. A community spirit shines in the use of we. Floca’s signature illustrations offer meticulously detailed renditions of city buildings and a wide assortment of urban vehicles. Everyone is properly masked. The evening cheers have stopped, but the gratitude has not. The story was first developed as a YouTube video, and here the sound effects are missing, but they can be easily and enthusiastically added by young readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 64.9% of actual size.)Essential reading about essential workers that is informative, reassuring, and positive. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* An ode to the city workers keeping New York City going during the COVID-19 pandemic, this picture book begins with a boy and girl peeking out of their apartment window. With lyrical text and exquisite, detailed illustrations, Floca reminds readers of the early days of the pandemic with an empty city street. Well, almost empty. A hint of movement in these opening scenes turns into a full-page spread with food deliverers on bikes. Of course, first responders e fire department, police officers, ambulance drivers, and health care workers e depicted prominently, but so too are the workers who suddenly become frontline service and care. The bus drivers, sanitation engineers, grocery-store workers, and those keeping phones and internet functioning so people can stay home for work and school. There's even an apology to the mail and package deliverers as people sometimes bought things they didn't need out of boredom. The text is light on many pages, allowing the dramatic illustrations to tell the story. The latter are made even more immediate as some of the workers look directly at readers, inviting them into the scenes. At the end, Floca returns to the apartment dwellers, who honor the workers each evening by cheering and banging pots. A moving tribute that remembers essential workers and community in a time of loss.
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: P-2
Lexile: AD630L

Caldecott Award winner Brian Floca gives a heartfelt thank you to the essential workers who keep their cities going during COVID-19 quarantine in this tenderly illustrated picture book.

We are here at home now, watching the world through our windows. Outside we see the city we know, but not as we’ve seen it before. The once hustling and bustling streets are empty. Well, almost empty. Around the city there are still people, some, out and about. These are the people keeping us safe. Keeping us healthy. Keeping our mail and our food delivered. Keeping our grocery stores stocked. Keeping the whole city going. Brian Floca speaks for us all in this stirring homage to all the essential workers who keep the essentials operating so the rest of us can do our part by sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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