Recommended Reading on Architecture

There are many books available to support a study on architecture. Below is a listing of some our favorite nonfiction and fiction literature.

Know of another book that belongs in this list? Email
Judy to share your ideas with fellow educators.

NONFICTION

Beyond the Facade:  A Synagogue, A Restoration, A Legacy
Authors:  Larry Bortniker, Roberta Brandes Gratz and Bonnie Dimun
Grades:  High school
About:  Chronicles the award-winning restoration of the Eldridge Street Synagogue with more than 100 full-color photographs.  Gratz’s foreword offers her perspective as an urban cirtic and early leader in the efforts to preserve the synagogue, which is now a National Historic Landmark.  Also features photographs of the fabrication and installation of a new stained-glass window by Kiki Smith and Deborah
Gans.  176 pages, photographs by various photographers.

The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited
Author: Joyce Mendelsohn
Grades: High school
About: A complete walking tour guide to the Lower East Side of yesterday and today.

The Street Book: An Encyclopedia of Manhattan’s Street Names and Their Origins
Author:  Henry Moscow
Grades: All
About: This book contains brief biographical sketches for more than one hundred of Manhattan’s well- and lesser-known streets
Staff Pick: This is one of my favorite reference books for creating New York City walking tours. Street names are a fun way to learn more about the city and this book is full of fascinating facts about the past. Miriam Bader, former Director of Education.

The Historical Atlas of New York City: A Visual Celebration of 400 Years of New York City’s History
Authors: Eric Homberger and Alice Hudson
Grades: Middle and high school
About: This encyclopedic volume traces the historical development of 400 years of New York City history in an easy to read, visually compelling format. 192 pages.

Landmark of the Spirit: The Eldridge Street Synagogue
Author: AnniePolland
Grades: High school and beyond
About: The complete and fascinating history of the rise, the near fall, and the rise again of Eldridge Street Synagogue on New York’s Lower East
Side. 192 pp; illustrations and photographs.

American Synagogues: A Century of Architecture and Jewish Community
Author: Samuel Gruber
Grades: High school and beyond
About: How was Jewish history expressed in 20th century synagogue design? This architectural tour includes synagogues designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip Johnson, and Minoru Yamasaki. 240 pp; photographs by Paul Rocheleau. Excerpted from Amazon.

And I Shall Dwell Among Them: Historic Synagogues of the World
Author: Yom Tov Assis
Grades: High school and beyond
About: The architectural diversity of these historic synagogues not only reflects the countries they were built in, but also reveals the Jewish story of migration and survival. 176 pp; photographs by Neil Folberg

FICTION

This is New York
Author: Miroslav Sasek
Grades: K-3
About: A children’s classic first published in 1960 celebrating New York’s neighborhoods, architecture and landmarks. One of a series on great cities around the world. Older children and adults will also enjoy the wonderful illustrations. 64 pages, illustrated.

Peppe the Lamplighter
Author: Elisa Bartone
Grades: K-5
About: Peppe, a young immigrant, lives in a tenement in Little Italy in the early 1900s. The brilliant color
illustrations perfectly capture the flavor of the Little Italy immigrant neighborhood in the early 1900s. Excerpted from School Library Journal.