Walking in the City with Jane: A Story of Jane Jacobs

Susan Hughes, illus. by Valérie Boivin. Kids Can, $18.99 (36p) ISBN 978-1-77138-653-1
In this fictionalized approach to the life of journalist and activist Jane Jacobs, readers meet the subject as a child who is inquisitive and practical minded—traits that Jacobs carries into adulthood. After moving to New York City, Jacobs observes the ways that a city’s diverse components function in harmony: “She knew that animals, plants, rivers, sunshine and rain all worked together as part of a healthy ecosystem. ‘But a city is also an ecosystem,’ she realized.” When proposals from city planner Robert Moses threaten her neighborhood, Jacobs leads her community in protest, resulting in the city canceling plans for the development. For illustrations that express Jacobs’s vision of a healthy city, Boivin works in muted jewel tones; in contrast, the high-rises proposed by Moses and other planners are putty colored and prisonlike. Hughes offers a compelling overview of Jacobs’s contributions to urban planning while introducing readers to a new way of seeing their own city environments. An author’s note provides a photograph of Jacobs and brief biographical details. Ages 6–9. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/07/2018
Release date: 04/03/2018
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