Meet the High Bridge, the oldest walking bridge in New York City, as she tells her story of how she came to carry fresh, clean drinking water to the people living on the island of Manhattan in New York City.
After a long reconstruction project, the reopening of the High Bridge is just around the corner.
City officials joined elementary school students from Highbridge on June 1 to start the official countdown to the opening of the pedestrian walkway to Manhattan on June 9.
The event, held at P.S.11 by the Bronx Children’s Museum, featured the presentation of a new picture book, “The Lowdown on the Highbridge,” written by museum supporter Sonia Manzano, known to kids as Maria from ‘Sesame Street.’
Maintained by NYC Parks, the High Bridge is a former aqueduct and pedestrian bridge and is the oldest standing bridge in New York City. Closed for the past 40 years, the $62 million project broke ground in 2013.
In advance of the bridge’s reopening, the Bronx Children’s Museum, a ‘museum without walls’ until its Mill Pond Park location opens in 2017, developed programming to teach kids from Highbridge about the landmark their neighborhood is named after, with lessons in history and as well as science, technology, engineering, art and math subjects.
“It felt like the High Bridge was the perfect educational tool,” said museum director Carla Precht.
The subject fit into the museum’s stated mission to inspire children and families to learn about themselves and the diversity and richness of their surroundings, as well as the world beyond, but Precht was dismayed to learn that there weren’t any books about the High Bridge to utilize in the lessons.
All proceeds from the purchase of this book will support the Bronx Children’s Museum!
A World Together
While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight under-representation for Africa and South America
Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.
Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx
This is the story of a girl with a dream.
Set in the 1950s in the Bronx, this is the story of a girl with a dream. Emmy award-winning actress and writer Sonia Manzano plunges us into the daily lives of a Latino family that is loving–and troubled. This is Sonia’s own story rendered with an unforgettable narrative power. When readers meet young Sonia, she is a child living amidst the squalor of a boisterous home that is filled with noisy relatives and nosy neighbors. Each day she is glued to the TV screen that blots out the painful realities of her existence and also illuminates the possibilities that lie ahead. But–click!–when the TV goes off, Sonia is taken back to real-life–the cramped, colorful world of her neighborhood and an alcoholic father. But it is Sonia’s dream of becoming an actress that keeps her afloat among the turbulence of her life and times. Spiced with culture, heartache, and humor, this memoir paints a lasting portrait of a girl’s resilience as she grows up to become an inspiration to millions.
New York Times Notable Children’s Books of 2015: BECOMING MARIA. Love and Chaos in the South Bronx
The best in picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction, selected by the children’s books editor of The New York Times Book Review.
Kirkus Best Teen Books of 2015 includes BECOMING MARIA: LOVE AND CHAOS IN THE SOUTH BRONX
It’s Christmas Eve and Mami has bought a delicious roast for a Christmas feast. But, oh no! It’s too big to fit in the oven.
An urban family’s dilemma becomes a community celebration in this delectable holiday treat from Sonia Manzano, also known as “Maria” on Sesame Street.
Jose and Papa need to find an oven big enough to cook Mami’s roast. As they walk from door to door through their apartment building, no one seems to be in the Christmas spirit. So they head down the street to find someone willing to help, and only when they do, lo and behold, the scent—the itself magical smell—of dinner begins to spread, and holiday cheer manifests in ways most unexpected.
Sonia Manzano from Sesame Street and two-time Caldecott Honor-recipient Marjorie Priceman have cooked up a Christmas tale about how the simplest things—like the tantalizing smell of Christmas dinner and the sharing of it—can become a holiday miracle.
The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano
There are two secrets Evelyn Serrano is keeping from her Mami and stepfather.
Her true feelings about growing up in her Spanish Harlem neighborhood, and her attitude about Abuela, her sassy grandmother who’s come from Puerto Rico to live with them.
Then, like an urgent ticking clock, events erupt that change everything. The Young Lords, a Puerto Rican activist group, dump garbage in the street and set it on fire, igniting a powerful protest.
When Abuela steps in to take charge, Evelyn is thrust into the action. Tempers flare, loyalties are tested. Through it all, Evelyn learns important truths about her Latino heritage and the history makers who shaped a nation.
Infused with actual news accounts from the time period, Sonia Manzano has crafted a gripping work of fiction based on her own life growing up during a fiery, unforgettable time in America, when young Latinos took control of their destinies.
No Dogs Allowed!
Sometimes the unexpected is even more fun than the best-laid plans.
Iris, her family, the neighbors, and dog take a road trip to the lake. But first, the cars break down. Then they get lost. And when they finally arrive at the lake, they see a NO DOGS ALLOWED sign. What to do? Iris’s family’s make-do attitude saves the day, for as they go about their beach activities while trying to figure out what to do with the dog, each takes a turn taking care of the dog. Soon the day is over, and the dog has had the best time of all — the beach had been brought to him. Sesame Street’s Sonia Manzano’s first picturebook provides an ocean of humor, a warm, close-knit Puerto Rican community, and a take-charge family who refuses to let things get in their way!
A Box Full of Kittens
Ruthie loves Superman.
Ruthie wants to be Superman.
And when Ruthie is asked to go spend the afternoon with her aunt, who is about to have a baby any day day now and may need some help., Ruthie seizes the opportunity. It could be her chance to be a hero, should the baby come while she’s visiting! But when Ruthie is out fetching a snack for her aunt, she gets so distracted by a box full of kittens in the bodega that she doesn’t hear her aunt calling for her, nor does she notice the policemen running to the apartment or the ambulance to the curb. When she realizes what’s happened, she’s devastated — she’s missed her one chance to be a hero! Or has she?