Explore NY 2010

The New York State Library, in partnership with the New York Library Association’s Youth Services Section and School Library Media Section, has created a reading list that celebrate the history, culture, and diversity of New York State for 2010 “Summer Reading at New York Libraries.”  Below you will find a list of the books available at the Olean Public Library that will help you “Explore NY” this summer.

  • Anderson, Laurie Halse. Chains. New York: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2008.

Sisters Isabel and Ruth are young girls who are promised freedom after the death of their slave master. Instead, they become property of a New York City couple. Isabel soon catches Revolution fever after meeting a young boy named Curzon who encourages her to spy on her owners. Together Isabel and Curzon strive for their personal freedom and the freedom of New York and their country.

Y FIC Anderson

  • Asbury, Herbert. The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld. New York: Vintage Books, 2008.

True to the title, the book is a history of crime that permeated the underbelly of New York City and its boroughs in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some of these gangs were so vicious they would post signs warning police to stay out of their neighborhoods — or else!

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  • Barrett, Andrea. The Air We Breathe. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007.

In the fall of 1916, as U.S. involvement in WWI looms, the Adirondack town of Tamarack Lake houses a public sanitarium and private cure cottages for Tuberculosis patients. Gossip about roommate changes, nurse visits, cliques and romantic connections dominate relations among the sick—mostly poor European immigrants. The timely theme focuses on how the tragedy, betrayal and heartbreak of war extend far beyond the battlefield.

FIC Barrett

  • Bat-Ami, Miriam. Two Suns in the Sky. New York: Puffin Books, 2001.

In 1944, an Upstate New York teenager (setting is Oswego and the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter) named Christine meets and falls in love with Adam, a Yugoslavian Jew living in a refugee camp, despite their parents’ conviction that they do not belong together.

Y PB Bat-Ami

  • Bauer, Joan. Backwater. New York: Puffin, 2005.

When young Ivy begins to study her family’s history, her discoveries rattle the other members of her New York State clan.

Y FIC Bauer

  • Bauer, Joan. Peeled. New York: Putnam, 2008.

In an upstate New York farming community, high school reporter Hildy Biddle investigates a series of strange occurrences at a house rumored to be haunted.

Y FIC Bauer


  • Bogaert, Harmen Meyndertsz van den. Journey into Mohawk Country. Illus. George O’Connor. New York: First Second, 2006.

A graphic novel illustrated by George O’Connor. It is an illustrated version of the travels of a Dutch trader in early America based on Van den Bogaert’s 1634 journal, A Journey into Mohawk and Oneida Country.


  • Bruchac, Joseph. Bowman’s Store: A Journey to Myself. New York: Lee & Low Books, 2001.

Bruchac, now a well-known children’s author and storyteller, relates his childhood and high school years spent living with his grandparents near Saratoga, NY and his discovery of his Abenaki heritage, which he learns to honor.

BIO Bruchac

  • Budhos, Marina Tamar. Ask Me No Questions. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2006.

Fourteen-year-old Nadira, her sister, and their parents leave Bangladesh for New York City, but the expiration of their visas and the events of September 11, 2001, bring frustration, sorrow, and terror for the whole family.

Y FIC Budhos

  • Buckhanon, Kalisha. Upstate. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006.

Antonio, initially a teen arrested for murder, and his sweetheart, Natasha, exchange a decade of correspondence. Both from tiny, dark apartments in Harlem, they are passionately in love, but destined to walk very different roads.

Y FIC Buckhanon

  • Carvell, Marlene. Who Will Tell My Brother? New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 2004.

During his lonely crusade to remove offensive mascots from his high school, a Native American teenager learns more about his heritage, his ancestors, and his place in the world.

Y FIC Carvell

  • Chance, Megan. An Inconvenient Wife. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2005.

In this gripping account of historical fiction, the author exposes the horrors women faced during the late 19th century in New York when they dared to show passion of any kind or repudiate society’s norms.  Lucy Carelton suffers from a common female disorder, “hysteria”: its symptoms are headaches, excitable reactions and feelings of claustrophobia. Her cold-hearted husband, William, determined to find her a cure, brings her to several specialists, who recommend everything from an ovariotomy to several months of confinement in a private asylum.

FIC Chance

  • Cooper, James Fenimore. The Last of the Mohicans. New York: Signet Classics, 2005.

This exciting adventure story is set during the Seven Year’s War fought between France and England in North America. Hawkeye and his American Indian companions become involved in the bloody war.

FIC PB Cooper

  • Cooper, James Fenimore. The Spy. New York: Penguin Classics, 1997.

Written in 1821, this historical novel is Cooper’s paean to the Revolutionary War.Protagonist Harry Birch finds himself wrongly accused of selling vital information to the British.

FIC Cooper

  • Danticat, Edwidge. Behind the Mountains. New York: Orchard Books, 2002.

Writing in the notebook which her teacher gave her, thirteen-year-old Celiane describes life with her mother and brother in Haiti as well as her experiences in Brooklyn after the family finally immigrates there to be reunited with her father.

Y FIC Danticat

  • Donnelly, Jennifer. A Northern Light. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade & Reference Publishers, 2003.

In 1906, 16-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiancé, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. This novel is based on a true story.

Y FIC Donnelly

  • Duble, Kathleen Benner. Quest. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2008.

Relates the events of explorer Henry Hudson’s final voyage from four points of view: that of his seventeen-year-old son aboard the ship, a younger son left in London, a crewmember, and a young English woman acting as a spy in Holland.

Y FIC Duble

  • Edmonds, Walter. Drums Along the Mohawk. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1997.

This is the story of the forgotten pioneers of the Mohawk Valley during the Revolutionary War. Combating hardships almost too great to endure, they helped give America a legend which still stirs the heart. In the midst of love and hate, life and death, danger and disaster, they stuck to the acres which were theirs, and fought a war without ever quite understanding it. An American classic since its original publication in 1936.

FIC Edmonds

  • Finney, Jack. Time and Again. New York: Scribner Paperback, 1995.

This novel is about an experiment that causes 20th century illustrator Si Morley to step out of a Dakota apartment building into the streets of 1882 New York.

FIC Finney

  • Godbersen, Anna. The Luxe. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.

In Manhattan in 1899, five teens of different social classes lead dangerously scandalous lives, despite the strict rules of society and the best-laid plans of parents and others.

Y FIC Godbersen

  • Grimes, Nikki.  Bronx Masquerade. New York: Dial Books, 2002.

While studying the Harlem Renaissance, students at a Bronx high school read aloud poems they’ve written, revealing their innermost thoughts and fears to their formerly clueless classmates.

Y PB Grimes

  • Gruber, Ruth. Haven: The Dramatic Story of 1,000 World War II Refugees and How They Came to America. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2000.

Gruber, a journalist during WWII, accompanied 1000 refugees from Nazi-controlled Europe who came to Oswego, NY as guests of the United States government.

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  • Hopkinson, Deborah. Shutting out the Sky: Life in the Tenements of New York, 1880-1915. New York: Orchard Books, 2003.

Photographs and text document the experiences of 5 individuals from Belarus, Italy, Lithuania, and Romania, who came to live in the Lower East Side of NYC as children or young adults at the turn of the 20th century.

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  • Jackson, Livia Bitton. Hello, America: A Refugee’s Journey from Auschwitz to the New World. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.

In the final book of the acclaimed trilogy that includes I Have Lived a Thousand Years and My Bridges of Hope, Elli and her mother leave war-ravaged Europe behind. Arriving in New York in 1951, they seek to preserve their Jewish heritage while embracing the freedom of the new city.

BIO Jackson

  • Marshall, Paul. Brown Girl, Brownstones. Mineola: Dover Publications, Inc., 2009.

This book centers on the daughter of Barbadian immigrants living in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Selina Boyce is caught in the middle of her parents’ differing views of her future. Her mom wants Selina to get an American education, while her dad dreams of returning to Barbados. Along with her parental woes, the heroine must deal with the poverty and racism that surrounds her.

Y FIC Marshall

  • Monfredo, Miriam Grace. North Star Conspiracy. New York: Berkley, 1995.

In 1854, while the rest of Seneca Falls, New York gears up for the opening of a new theater, librarian/sleuth/women’s rights activist Glynis Tryon investigates the death of a freed slave and discovers shocking secrets about several abolitionists.

MYS Monfredo

  • Raphael, Marie. Streets of Gold: A Novel. New York: Persea Books, 2001.

After fleeing Poland and conscription in the Russian czar’s army, Stefan and his sister Marisia begin a new life in America on the Lower East Side of New York City at the turn of the century.

Y FIC Raphael

  • Sachs, Marilyn. Lost in America. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2005.

Follows the story of Nicole, a teenage French Jew, from 1943-1948, as she loses her parents and sister to the concentration camps and then leaves her native France to make a new life in New York City.

Y FIC Sachs

  • Santiago, Esmeralda. When I was Puerto Rican. New York: Vintage Books, 1994.

The author recalls the hardships and joys of her life with humor and poignancy, from her childhood in Puerto Rico to her move to a very different life in Brooklyn, and, finally, to her admission to the High School of Performing Arts.

BIO Santiago

  • Sheldon, Dyan. Sophie Pitt-Turnbull Discovers America. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2005.

While spending the summer in Brooklyn with her mother’s former schoolmate, Sophie, a sheltered English teenager, makes new and unlikely friends and finds a new side to her formerly “dull and passive” personality.

Y FIC Sheldon

  • Swerling, Beverly. City of Dreams: A Novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and Early Manhattan.  New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001

In 1661, a brother and sister stagger off a small wooden ship after eleven perilous weeks at sea to seek a new life in the Dutch settlement of Nieuw Amsterdam. Bound to each other by blood and necessity, these gifted healers become deadly enemies as betrayal and murder enter their lives.Their descendents –dedicated physicians and surgeons, pirates and whoremasters — will shape the future of medicine and the growing city.

FIC Swerling

  • Swiggett, Howard. War out of Niagara: Walter Butler and the Tory Rangers. Temecula: Reprint Services Company, 1993.

This study of the American Revolution in northern New York, presents a full account of the Loyalist issues of the area; the role of the Mohawk Indians; the battle actions from 1778-1780 involving many diverse issues and forces; and, the controversial role of Walter Butler’s Rangers in the battle at Cherry Valley.

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  • Taylor, Kim. Bowery Girl. New York: Viking, 2006.

Two orphaned teenage girls in New York’s tenements in 1883 realize that their dream of saving enough money to move to Brooklyn across the newly-built bridge may be achieved if they learn new trades at a nearby settlement house, rather than continuing their lives of prostitution and stealing.

Y FIC Taylor

  • Torrey, E. Fuller. Ride with the Loomis Gang. Illus. John Mahaffy. Utica, NY: North Country Books, 1997

An adaptation of the author’s Frontier Justice: Rise and Fall of the Loomis Gang. It chronicles the exploits of the legendary Loomis Gang, a group of more than 200 men who terrorized central New York during the mid-1800s.

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One Response

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Olean Public Library, Jeff A. Jones. Jeff A. Jones said: Explore NY 2010 « Olean Public Library http://bit.ly/9rXbmG […]

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