Manhattan: Mapping the Story of an Island

Abrams. Aug. 2019. 64p. bibliog. maps. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781419736551.
Gr 3-7–Thermes presents the history of Manhattan from the time when glaciers covered the land to its contemporary prominence as a center of commerce, culture, and civilization through the use of maps, sidebars, and stories. From its hilly, swampy beginnings as a natural haven for birds and beavers to modern skyscrapers, subways, and parks, the island’s unique history unfolds with colorful illustrations and accessible text. In the opening pages, Thermes reveals that Manhattan was originally home to the Lenape peoples and known as Mannahatta; she emphasizes the peoples who populated its ever-expanding boundaries. From the original Native peoples to the Dutch and English settlers to the countless immigrants and the African Americans who were enslaved, each group contributed to the city we know today. Much of the information offered concerns the natural world and the changes brought about by the ever-shifting needs of the populace. Surprisingly, although several natural catastrophes are shown, there is only a very brief mention of the 9/11 tragedy in the exhaustive time line offered in the appendix. A comprehensive bibliography suggests books, websites, museums, and a podcast for further information.
VERDICT The maps, colorful illustrations, and accessible text present a comprehensive history of Manhattan as an island and a good introduction to the study of urban growth for students of all ages. Very valuable to students in the New York City metropolitan area, but also highly informative for all readers

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