cover image Keeping the City Going

Keeping the City Going

Brian Floca. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-9377-3

With his signature affection for architecture and keen sense of urban space, Caldecott Medalist Floca pays tribute to the frontline workers helping to make New York City run during the pandemic. The book opens on deserted city streets bathed in soft sunshine as two tan-skinned children peer out from behind curtains: “Outside we see the city we know, but not as we’ve seen it before.” The streets may seem empty, but there’s important work being done—by transit drivers, mail carriers, fire fighters, and health-care workers, among others—and subsequent spreads celebrate an inclusive array of professionals through a sort of visual synecdoche in which vehicles represent the gloved and masked figures. In one sparsely peopled spread, an array of trucks, bearing images of bagels, fish, and other foods, stand in for those delivering “enough to fill the empty shelves.” In another, a monolithic garbage truck appears alongside “the people keeping the city clean.” Finally, celebratory images show what happens every evening at 7 p.m., when neighbors clap and cheer to thank “the people still out on the streets, driving this and that, going from here to there.” Floca brings precision and expert draftsmanship to renderings of working vehicles, centering the heroes working to get supplies out and save lives, and to the equipment that helps them do it. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)