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Get creative with a children’s literature trip through New York.
Whether you are visiting the Big Apple with the kids – or you are just a fan of children’s literature– there is a treasure trove of landmarks around the city that will be familiar to fans of beloved stories.
From spunky girl heroines “Olivia” and “Eloise” to lesser known, but no less delightful, characters like “Knuffle Bunny” and “Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” in between your visits to the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center, you can squeeze in a few landmarks immortalized in favorite childhood stories.
Children’s Literature Trip through New York
Alice in Wonderland Statue – Central Park
Perhaps one of the most beloved – and obvious – literary landmarks in New York is the Alice in Wonderland statue, located at East 74th Street north of the Water Conservatory in Central Park.
At more than 11 feet tall, this statue immortalizes everyone’s favorite dreamer in bronze; Alice sits on a large mushroom, surrounded by the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, Dormouse and Mad Hatter.
It’s one of the few public art sculptures that actually encourage children to climb on it and interact with it.
Eloise at the Plaza
While there are many things to do while you are in New York, no trip would be complete without paying a visit to the Plaza Hotel – particularly the Eloise at the Plaza Shops.
An homage to the rambunctious Eloise, the hotel’s youngest resident, the predominantly pink shop allows Eloise fans to enjoy a tea party, model their favorite fashions from the stories and immerse themselves into the experiences and atmosphere of the popular books and movies. Of course, for the true Eloise experience, splurge for a night in a room at the Plaza.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met has featured prominently in a number of literary works – but young fans will appreciate it for being the setting of the young adult classic “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.” In the book, siblings Claudia and Jamie Kincaid run away from home to live in the museum, where they sleep in an antique bed, collect coins from the wishing fountain to buy food. and embark on a mysterious quest to find the name of an anonymous sculptor.
While some of the exhibits and features from the book were either made up, or have since been changed, for fans of the book, a visit to the museum is a welcome opportunity to see exactly where the Kincaid’s had their adventures.
Another fan of the Met is “Olivia,” the precocious young pig from the series of the same name. While the author has never confirmed that Olivia is in fact a New Yorker, many of the real-life artworks that appear in the books are part of the Met’s collection. Take the kids to see works by Renoir and Pollack – and remind them of where they first saw the paintings.
In “A Cricket in Times Square,” a cricket named Chester is the star. He comes to the famed neighborhood from Connecticut and becomes a musical superstar. While you might be hard pressed to find a cricket there today – or hear one over the noise of the traffic – it’s still worth a visit to Times Square.
The original story refers to the Times Square of 1960 which has changed significantly since then, but the kids will love visiting the immense Toy R Us store (and riding the ferris wheel inside) and taking in all of the sights and sounds of the crossroads of America.
Fans of Mo Willems’ popular books will remember the toddler Trixie and her stuffed animal Knuffle Bunny. Read “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale” and “Knuffle Bunny Too” and recognize the setting in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood. Explore this trendy neighborhood with its coffee shops, cafes and galleries, and look for landmarks from the stories.
Where to begin? Planning a children’s literature trip through New York will be fun for all ages. Are you planning a trip to New York? Take some time before you go to revisit some of the favorite stories of your child. Even better: Introduce your kids to some of the city’s classic stories. Seeing some of the landmarks like Central Park and monuments will bring the stories to life. It will also create some new memories for the entire family.