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Browse Through The Bronx: A Booklist About the Only Borough That Begins With 'The'

[Westchester Square branch, Bronx], Digital ID 1697833, New York Public Library

Did anyone else notice that the Bronx was hardly ever mentioned during our recent snowstorm?  We heard about streets not being plowed in Queens and Brooklyn, but I only heard the Bronx mentioned once. Sometimes it seems that we are the forgotten part of New York City. However, the humble Bronx has been the setting of many books, fiction and non-fiction alike, and it has been called home by such luminaries as Colin Powell, Chief Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Regis Philbin and author Mary Higgins Clark.  Pictured above are library patrons waiting on line at the Westchester Square Library bookmobile in the Bronx.  The picture is from NYPL's digital gallery where you can find more pictures of the Bronx, and here are just a few books that might whet your appetite to learn more about the Bronx borough:

Adult and Young Adult Fiction:

The War of The Rosens by Janice Eidus
Take a trip to the Bronx of the 1960s through the eyes of a young girl.

Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
It's Christmas 1953 when seven-year-old Anthony Amedeo welcomes his twin cousins and his aunt to his home.  The book charts a half century in the lives of Bronx natives, the Amedeo's.  It is a poignant look at family relationships through easy and rough times.

A Different Kind of Heat by Antonio Pagliarulo
Bronx-born Pagliarulo writes about his neigborhood, Zerega Avenue, in this young adult novel.  Luz Cordero is angry.  Her brother, a gang member, has been killed by a young rookie police officer.  However, she doesn't know what to do with this rage.  Journey with her on a voyage of self discovery and ultimate healing.

How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
From the Dominican Republic to the Bronx, the Garcia sisters' story is told in reverse chronological order starting in the present and bringing us back to before they left their native country.

Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
This young adult book is about a teacher in the Bronx who engages his students in the genre of poetry leading to open mike poetry readings.

Memoir Biographies, and Non-Fiction

Kitchen Privileges by mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark
Bronx born Mary Higgins Clark takes us on a trip through her depression era childhood in the Bronx.  Interestingly, in most of Ms. Clark's novels, Bronx neigborhoods and streets are often mentioned.

Twisted Head: An Italian American Memoir by Carl Capotorto
This Bronx born actor, author and playwright writes about growing up in the 1970's Bronx.  His writing is funny and engaging.   He tells us about his love, hate relationship with his dad, his friendship with one of Son of Sam's victims and a job he held at McDonald's on Fordham Road.  Carl, who was recently on the HBO series The Sopranos gives us an honest slice of life of what it was like to grow up in the Bronx. 

History of the Morris Park Racecourse by Nicholas Di Brino
Di Brino brings us back to a bygone era when Morris Park Avenue was a racecourse hosting many of the elite of Manhattan Society.

Children's Books:

Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows Up in The Bronx
A bilingual biography of our new Supreme Court Justice by Jonah Winter.

For help finding other titles, check out Fiction Connection, a reader's advisory tool.

Places of Interest in the Bronx:

The Bronx Zoo and The New York Botanical Garden

The Bronx Historical Society

City Island - If you visit, you will think that you are in New England.  While you are on the Island stop in at the City Island Branch which houses a wonderful nautical collection.

Belmont - New York's other "little Italy" - Take time to visit the Belmont Branch and  Enrico Fermi Cultural Center of The New York Public Library which has a wonderful selection of all books and media about Italians and Italian Americans.


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Thanks for this list, and the

Thanks for this list, and the plug for Belmont Library (!)--we really are in a pretty special place in the Bronx. Not to be forgotten on your book list is Colum McCann's National Book Award-winning "Let the Great World Spin," which takes place almost exclusively in the Bronx and upper Manhattan. Though it paints a grim picture of 70's era-burning, crime and corruption, the book is a worthy read.

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