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Children's Nonfiction City & Town Life

City of Neighbors

by (author) Andrea Curtis

illustrated by Katy Dockrill

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
May 2023
City & Town Life, Recycling & Green Living, Social Activism & Volunteering
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 6


A splash of paint, a place to sit, a popup park or playground bring life and a sense of fun to our cities.

Neighborhoods where people look out for each other, eat together, make art and build community are healthier, happier, greener and cleaner. Journey around the world to discover how people have been dreaming up new ways to ensure their cities and neighbourhoods are creative, inclusive and environmentally sustainable.

These placemaking ideas can be big — like the skateboard park built on the grounds of an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya — or small — like the painted rock snake that winds along a beach in Toronto, Ontario. Together, we can create public spaces where everyone belongs. Includes a list of ideas for children to get involved in their neighborhoods, along with a glossary and sources for further reading.

The ThinkCities series is inspired by the urgency for new approaches to city life as a result of climate change, population growth and increased density. It highlights the challenges and risks cities face, but also offers hope for building resilience, sustainability and quality of life as young people advocate for themselves and their communities.


Key Text Features


further information

further reading


historical context





Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:


Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text.

About the authors

Andrea Curtis is an author of books for children and adults. Her children’s non-fiction titles include Eat This!, which received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal, and What’s for Lunch?, named to VOYA’s Honor list. She has also written the young adult novel Big Water. Her adult books include Into the Blue, winner of the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction, and The Stop, winner of the Heritage Toronto Award of Merit and a finalist for the Toronto Book Award. She has also won a number of National Magazine Awards. Andrea lives with her family in Toronto.

Andrea Curtis' profile page

KATY DOCKRILL is an honors graduate from Ontario College of Art and Design. Her fresh brush-and-ink illustrations have attracted a wide range of clients, and she has won a number of awards for her editorial work. She has illustrated A Voice for the Spirit Bears by Carmen Oliver, among other titles, as well as many covers for children's novels. Katy lives with her family in Toronto, where she loves swimming, gardening and taking walks with her daughter.


Katy Dockrill's profile page


  • Commended, Ontario Library Association Best Bets

Editorial Reviews

City of Neighbors is an outstanding narrative nonfiction book to inspire community action and galvanize positive change.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

A lively exposition of creative community-building projects.


The text intermingles with colourful, joyful, and whimsical illustrations … The book is aspirational, encouraging individual youngsters to be their own advocates in improving their neighbourhoods.

Canadian Children’s Book News

Along with colorful illustrations, this book is filled with suggestions and examples of what students can do to help their city neighborhood gain a sense of community.

School Library Connection

Brightly colored artwork … exude a warmth and ­energy befitting a book about engaging communities.

School Library Journal

Brimming with laughter and joy, City of Neighbors is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Quill & Quire

[The Illustrations match] the upbeat tone of the narrative with street scenes featuring groups of residents and visitors casually lounging on, strolling past, or otherwise enjoying the results of these many types of [placemaking] initiatives.


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