Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Humans of New York: Stories

Stanton, Brandon (Author/Illustrator)
Macmillan 2015. 428 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9781250058904 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 974.7
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

layout, multimodal, point of view, setting

Award

Alex Award – 2010

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:

For this extensive compendium of contemporary street storytelling, the author and photographer stopped, interviewed and photographed random people on the streets of New York.

The texts range from the very brief—an introspective man in a hat shown in a two-page spread confides, “I kissed a woman yesterday”—to multi-picture series and more elaborate interviews that provide a glimpse of the depth of socioeconomic challenges. Recurring themes include triumph over adversity, dreams, love and loss, but the subjects run the gamut: cynics, parents, lovers, dog lovers, child artists, veterans, a “street pharmacist,” a busker (“You can make about 75 percent more money with a cat on your head than you can with a cat on your shoulder”), two punks standing back to back (“We go to the same church.”)

The photographs range in size and format as well as in approach, from headshots to full-body portraits to anonymous crops, and include both deliberately composed images and candid shots. Taken together as an extended photo essay on a diverse, eclectic and vibrant urban population, the photos humanize and make visible society’s overlooked citizens. The juxtaposition of image and story emphasize the superficiality of appearance, and the complexity and familiar strangeness of every life—to break our hearts and to lift them up.

  •  

    Following a popular social media blog and book, this text anthologizes the stories of people on the streets of New York City and lends itself to the exploration of critical literacy skills.

  •  

    In a small group, discuss how image and story work together. Do the images contradict or confirm the stories? Which aspect of the story is highlighted by the image?

  •  

    Use a multimedia production process to create “street stories” that combine photography and text. These might be inspired by peers and people in the school community, or drawn from a wider social sphere. Share the stories through a digital platform or during a launch event.

  •  

    Analyze the front and back covers. Take note of the quotes and photographs. Brainstorm and discuss the techniques that are used to draw the reader in.

  •  

    As a small team, select a quote that seems to contradict its accompanying photo. Individually, imagine the real story and write a new accompanying paragraph. Compare your ideas.

  •  

    Explore and critique the Humans of New York blog online. What are its strengths and weaknesses? Does it make you feel disillusioned or proud of being human? Why? Support your arguments.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Media Literacy
  • Social Sciences
  • Visual Arts