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Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building Paperback – January 10, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Books (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375865411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375865411
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 7.8 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4–Hopkinson and Ransome chronicle the construction of this famous building through the eyes of a young boy. The present-tense text gives the book a true You are there feel as the author describes both the actual building process and its significance as a symbol of hope during the Depression era. The pacing is never rushed, but at the same time it moves along at an energetic clip that matches the speed that characterized the construction of this National Historic Landmark. Ransomes stunning oil paintings vary in perspective as readers look up at what was once the tallest building in the world, and then down from dizzying heights as workers perch on girders on the 47th floor, feeding pigeons while taking a break for beef stew and coffee. An authors note reflects the painstaking and careful research done by both author and illustrator to ensure as authentic a presentation as possible. This is a fascinating look at a slice of American history and a worthwhile addition to any collection.–Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. Crisp, lyrical free verse and bold paintings celebrate the skill and daring of those who constructed the Empire State Building. During the Great Depression, a young boy learns about plans for the building. As the tower rises, the boy visits the site with his unemployed father and sees in the emerging skyscraper "a symbol of hope / in the darkest of times." The second-person voice occasionally feels like a clumsy reach for connection with the audience: "It's the end of winter, / and your pop's lost his job." But Hopkinson makes the construction details thrilling in skillfully integrated lines, filled with statistics: "This steel is strong and new / only eighty hours old." Ransome's powerful acrylic paintings show the building in all stages of construction, and includes the workers' perilous views. A unique, memorable title, this will enhance poetry and history units and combine well with Susan Goodman's excellent Skyscraper and Connie Ann Kirk's Sky Dancer (both 2004). Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Deborah Hopkinson is as award-winning of picture books, fiction, and nonfiction for young readers. In 2013 she received a Robert F. Sibert Honor and YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award honor for Titanic: Voices from the Disaster.

She has won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text twice, for A Band of Angels and Apples to Oregon. Sky Boys, How They Built the Empire State Building, was a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awardee. She lives near Portland, Oregon.

Deborah's most recent book, The Great Trouble, A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel was named a Best Book of 2013 by School Library Journal.

Visit her on the web at www.deborahhopkinson.com

Customer Reviews

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This book is well-written and illustrated.
Liz
Two-page action sequences set within the story slow down time so that one can appreciate the danger, the men's skill, and the scope of the project.
M. Allen Greenbaum
The story of the building of the Empire State Building, told through the eyes of a Depression-era child.
M. Heiss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In Depression-era New York City, dreams collide with reality. Our unnamed young narrator's father has just lost his job, and so the boy must wander the harsh, cold streets of Manhattan, looking for firewood. However, one day near 34th and 5th streets, he sees a dream unfold, as 3,000 men construct a symbol of triumph and tenacity: the 102-story Empire Stae Building.

The book is magnificent: Powerful images, poetic language, and construction scenes and details merge into a dramatic tale that's both historic and personal. The boy (and sometimes his father) joins other New Yorkers who look in awe at the evolving building. Ms. Hopkinson uses facts and simple, strong words in her descriptions: We see men sinking "210 massive steel columns" 55-feet into the ground, building "a steel forest" that "can bear the full weight of this giant-to-be: 365,000 tons." Flatbeds carry steel beams "from the fiery furnaces of Pittsburgh" through the streets, looking "river surging through the concrete canyons of Manhattan." While strong and almost terse, the writing is somehow concommitantly lyrical. The story teems with action ("hoisting, swinging, spinning") and facts that will fascinate any young reader (and most adults as well).

Two-page action sequences set within the story slow down time so that one can appreciate the danger, the men's skill, and the scope of the project. We see four men (there are no female workers--accurate as far as I know), working as a team to rivet steel girders together: The "Heater Man" tosses hot metal to "the Catcher," who fits it into the girder hole steadied by the "Bucker-up," finally hammered into place by "the Gunman.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on April 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The story of the building of the Empire State Building, told through the eyes of a Depression-era child. Who wouldn't love to be one of those builders? Beautiful, well-done book about a triumph of American engineering and a can-do attitude.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Empire State Building's construction is Sky Boys: How They Built The Empire State Building. While vintage black and white photos from the era greet the eye on the inside and back cover pages, the book is loaded with color illustrations which bring to life the builder's experience. The journey to Depression-era Manhattan and a boy who watches its construction brings the promise, hope and allure of the Empire State Building to life.
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Format: Kindle Edition
What an undertaking! It is 1930 so close to the beginning of the Great Depression. At one point, the author makes mention that the men all work as fast as they can as they know there are a "hundred jobless men" ready to take over in a flash. BUT the men working also realize that once their job is over they could well be joining the jobless line.

The building is shown in stages so it as if you are right there with them. They build 4 1/2 stories each week! The danger is also exposed as you watch the men high up walking the steel beams.

The Empire State Building was opened on May 1st, 1931.

This book is well-written and illustrated. The photos on the inside covers are actual black and white photos of the construction so sn added bonus. An educational "picture book" that captivates the young as well as the old. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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