Central Park is so massive and multifaceted that even lifelong New Yorkers can still learn a thing or two about its offerings and lore. Not surprisingly, this public green has served as the setting and inspiration for literary works written for all ages. Here are our top picks for books that put the park front and center, and where you and your tiny reader can check out the settings in person! Click through for recommended reading!

photo:  momo & her bffs via Flickr creative commons

Before you visit the Met, read...

Balloons really get to express their personalities in books and movies for kids, andYou Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum features one with a serious case of wanderlust. Using only detailed illustrations and strategic color placement (i.e. no text here)  the book describes a young girl and her grandmother's trip to the Metropolitan Museum, while the duo's balloon takes an even bigger adventure throughout New York City. Inside the museum, you and the kids can seek out the 18 sculptures and paintings reproduced in the book. Once you’re done, you can take a side trip to one of the balloon’s park destinations — watch out for the elephants under the pedestrian bridges! For even more green space at the Met, visit the roof garden installation through November 2.

Buy the book

Who's it for?: Kids ages five to eight

See the site: Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
Online: http://www.metmuseum.org/

Do you have a favorite book inspired by a New York  City location? Tell us about it in the comments!

—Yuliya Geikhman