Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Humans of New York

Stanton, Brandon (Author/Illustrator)
Macmillan 2013. 400 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9781250038821 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

layout, multimodal, point of view, setting, stance

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The diversity and character of New York City is richly represented through 400 captioned portraits of its citizens. In this companion text to the Humans of New York blog, the author explains how he found inspiration in the city of New York and its eclectic mix of people.

His portraits are visually arresting and intimate, largely accompanied by quotes from the people featured, often in response to the author’s questions. A teen in his school uniform and shorts on a spring day explains, “a kid wore shorts to school yesterday and the headmaster got really mad, so today the whole class wore them.” A young girl with a big red ribbon pinned to her chest says, “I listened to my teacher and went beyond and above.”

The layout of each page is crafted to give as much impact as possible through positioning and image size. A stark white background makes the images pop. Leafing through the pages elicits a sense of curiosity about the people and their stories, providing an opportunity for discussions on compassion, diversity and assumptions. Intrigued readers can get more detailed descriptions of the photographs by visiting the Humans of New York online blog.

  •  

    This project started as a photographic census, and the resulting book anthologizes the images and stories of people in New York City. This text lends itself to the application of critical media literacy skills as well as discussions around the different messages conveyed.

  •  

    In pairs or small groups, discuss the choice of subjects for the text. What types of people are included? Who is excluded? What does this convey?

  •  

    Select a series of images and note how text and image work together. How do the captions affect the way you think about the person? Use this knowledge and the images themselves as models for producing a photographic census of your school or community.

  •  

    “Feet can tell the best stories” is one of the captions. What do you think the author means?

  •  

    Another caption reads, “These two didn’t know each other, but I thought they should.” Select two other photos for which this caption might apply. Expand and explain why these two people should meet. Or, select the caption that moved you most and explain why.

  •  

    Go on a photo scavenger hunt for people (not just students) at your school. Inspired by the author, add captions that focus on the emotions of your subjects. Try telling a story in only one sentence. Submit your best examples to the yearbook committee.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Media Literacy
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Personal Development
  • Visual Arts