The Children’s Book Review | April 15, 2019
Written and Illustrated by Ashley Benham Yazdani
Age Range: 5-7
Publisher: Candlewick Press (March 12, 2019)
What to Expect: New York, History, Engineering
When we think of New York City, it is always the towering skyscrapers which come first to mind: dizzyingly tall edifices of metal and glass and concrete and neon, evocative of business, and money, and progress. As A Green Place to Be reminds us, however, there is more to a city than concrete and glass, and more to life than business and money. A Green Place to Be tells the story of how space was made in one of America’s busiest urban centers for nature, contemplation, peace, and solitude.
Illustrated in beautiful, soft watercolor washes bursting with every shade of green, A Green Place to Be is most notable for its exploration of spatial dynamics within the confines of the two-page picture book spread. From the muddy building site to snowy expanses filled with ice-skaters and summer scenes filled with merriment, the book makes clever use of line and perspective to immerse the reader within the park, drawing the eye deep into the picture so that the trees seem to surround one and the lake almost splashes at the reader’s feet. The text emphasizes the democratic aspirations of the designers to make central park a place for everyone to enjoy, and this is reflected in careful illustration which reflects the true diversity of a busy city. This is a story not only about great design and historical innovation; it is also a narrative about the importance of balance for individuals as well as cities, and a reminder that none of us can thrive on industry alone.
About the Author-Illustrator
Ashley Benham Yazdani holds an MFA from the Illustration Practice Program at the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BFA in illustration from California College of the Arts. A Green Place to Be is her debut picture book.
A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park, written and illustrated by Ashley Benham Yazdani, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with American History, Books Set In New York, Engineering Books, History, Non-Fiction, and Picture Book.