This is New York - Thao Lam
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This is New York

This is New York

This is New York

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This is New York. Keep reading…

First published in 1960, This is New York, written and illustrated by Miroslav Sasek is an historical account of the 60s. Touring the city with his sketchbook, Sasek captures everyday life in New York from The Statue of Liberty to the 90, 000 fire hydrants in the big city. This is New York is meant to be a travel guide for young readers, filled with fun facts and Sasek’s personal observations of the city, delivered with a dry sense of humor. The book is a catalog of watercolour illustrations created in a retro style of the 60’s.

Miroslav Sasek’s job was a dream, he traveled the world visiting big cities like Hong Kong, London and Rome researching for his books; spending months at a time in the titled city until his book was done. “I come to a place like New York, for example, that I have never visited before in my life. I begin by going to see the things I’ve heard about or read about – the monuments, the landmarks and particular places of interest. One thing leads to another until the book is completed. All I really do is run from my hotel to someplace and then back to the hotel!”

Sasek would explore the city with a sketchbook and pencil in hand, roughly sketching out and jotting down every little detail until he was satisfied. Always traveling with a handful of art supplies, paintbrushes and tubes of watercolours, Sasek would rush back to his hotel room and work on the finish illustration, preferring to work quickly while the details were still fresh in his mind.

This is New York, a children’s book review by Thao Lam

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Author and Illustrator Miroslav Sasek

(1916 to 1980)

Czech author and illustrator Miroslav Sasek was born in Prague in 1916 and passed away in Switzerland in 1980. Originally trained as an architect because his parents didn’t approve of his dream to become a painter, Sasek started his career as an author and illustrator later in life. His first children’s book was published at the age of 46, he then went on to publish 27 more books in a very short 24-year career.

In 1946 Sasek escaped Czechoslovakia when the Communists seized power after World War II and sought refuge in France. Excited about his fresh start Sasek signed up for painting classes at l’Ecole des Beaux Arts and played tourist to the city of Paris.

It was on one of Sasek site seeing trips of the city that he came up with the idea for the “This is…” series of children’s books. Sasek noticed that kids in vacationing families were bored unlike their parents; the tourist attractions did not hold their interest. He felt they deserved their very own travel guide with colourful illustrations and fun facts about the city they were in. This is Paris was published in 1959, the first in a series of eighteen books.

To learn more about Miroslav Sasek, check out his website

Publisher Universe (May 30, 2003)

ISBN-10 9780789308849

ISBN-13 978-0789308849