There is an artist who lives in New York City who believes he can draw all of the buildings in New York City! Wow. Now that is a goal in your life, right? It is a great book about architecture for kids and can be used for storytelling or for some simple math skills too (see below.) You also might use it to trace and practice some drawing skills yourself.
James Gulliver Hancock draws New York City, building by building and the fine line illustrations are very interesting to see. He has a book titled “All the Buildings in New York” and also a website.
With very little text, but a lot of detail in the drawings, James has created a book that makes you feel like you might have been there before – you think, “Hmm, that looks just like a building that my Aunt Gertie lives in on East 38th or like a building that I have walked by so many times on the way to the Natural History Museum.” The buildings are familiar yet each one has it’s own distinct identity.
Teaching Architecture to Kids with this book
If you are a teacher or a parent, you might consider using the book to help with counting.
Count the number of columns, steps, windows or QUOINS on a building. (What is a QUOIN you might ask? Well, it is the corner block that is placed on a building usually for decorative effect, but possibly for sturdiness too. Quoins usually pop out a bit from the other brickwork giving added detail to the exterior of the building. Go here to see some examples of QUOINS in action. )
You might ask the kids to use the book as a treasure hunting book too. Find the buildings with the quoins. Find buildings with the Fire Stairs on the front of the building. Find the buildings with 3 stories, etc.
As mentioned before, you might bring out some tracing paper and ask kids to trace one of the buildings and then color it in on the tracing in some crazy way. Imagine a city with buildings all colored like that! See this for some wildly colored buildings in the real world.
Visit James Gulliver Hancock’s website here and see All the Buildings in New York: That I’ve Drawn So Far if you are interested in the book. We like it.