Monday, June 1, 2015

Lost in NYC, A Subway Adventure by Nadia Spiegelman & Sergio García Sánchez

I guess because I am a born and raised New Yorker, I love to read books that take place in NYC, so I was pretty excited to see a book called Lost in NYC, A Subway Adventure.  The premise is simple enough - new kid to the city Pablo isn't very happy about his family's latest move to NYC's Upper West Side and has a real unfriendly, resentful attitude.  His first day of school also happens to be the day his new class is traveling by subway to the Empire State Building and, as with all class trips, he is assigned a partner named Alicia.

Her helpfulness and his indifference help get the two separated from the class and a subway adventure begins as Alicia and Pablo try to reconnect with the rest of the class.  But then Pablo gets separated from Alicia and he finds himself lost and alone in NYC, in fact the loneliest he has ever felt.  Will he ever find the rest of his class and will they still be as friendly as when he first met them, especially Alicia?

Along with Pablo's subway adventure to the Empire State Building, there is a lot of information including a brief history of the former world's tallest building and how the subway was build.  NYC is in the midst of building a Second Avenue subway, which is an underground train and, since Manhattan is all hard shale rock, there was blasting and drilling for way too long.  But it was interesting to find out about all it is all done.

Lost in NYC is a great book newcomers to the city like Pablo and his family, and for anyone who wants to visit but feels intimated by the subway system.  The text does a wonderful job of showing how crowded and busy the trains are and Spiegelman and Sánchez been true to the different trains lines, explaining the difference between local and express, platforms where you can change from one train to the other.

And I love that they used the actual subway map as their background, not just for the inside front and back cover, but they incorporated it into the story.  This image is my favorite because I think it gives a great overview of one part of the subway as it relates to the story.

This colorful graphic novel gives a wonderful perspective of the story that should appeal to young readers whether they live in NYC or not.  Sánchez drew the graphics in orange pencil and ballpoint pen, and they were digitally colored by Lola Moral.  The muted colors used are a perfect counterpoint to the bright colored lines that indicate the subway routes Pablo encounters on his subway odyssey.

Be sure to look at the back matter, that includes information about the authors, the beginnings of it all, including subway construction, and a bit more history about the Empire State Building Lost in NYC is a delightful graphic story about adjusting to new surroundings, a new school and making new friends, not always an easy task for young kids.

New York City kids learn how to ride the subway at a young age .  I was pretty young when I went on my first solo ride, going from Brooklyn to Manhattan to visit my dad at work in the Museum of Natural History, and my Kiddo rode the subway every day to school when she was at Bard High School Early College.   But I can understand how people could be intimated by the NYC subway, after all there are   488 stations servicing two lines that have a total of 22 subway routes - 7 numbered and 15 lettered routes.  But if you come to NYC, get yourself a metro card, a subway map and if you really get lost, any New Yorker will be more than happy to help you find your way:

There is also a very handy, detailed Lesson Plan and Teacher's Guide available HERE

This book is recommended for readers age 8+
This book was borrowed from the NYPL


  1. Fun! I always loved maps as a kid, and subway maps are especially appealing. Also great to encourage a little kid independence too! Thanks for linking up with #KidLitBlogHop!

  2. Alex, I have this on my hold list for my 10 and 12 year olds and I can't wait to get it!!! So excited to see you feature it here. Thanks for linking up!

  3. A graphic novel and maps... sounds like it is a book my 9 yr old will love.

  4. Wow, this sounds like a book my kids would enjoy! They are very into graphic novels and we live very close to New York City!

  5. Looks lovely and sounds even better! Pinnned to get it soon, as this is something my daughter will enjoy. Visiting from the Kid Lit Blog Hop!


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