Chicago History for Kids: Triumphs and Tragedies of the Windy City Includes 21 Activities (For Kids series) by Owen Hurd and Gary Johnson
This book is for older children, those who are able to read by themselves, or teens. But it might also be a good way to discover the area of Chicago and its history for the parents. The book starts with “Chicago before Chicagoans” and ends with “Chicago in the New Millenium”. For each chapter, the children will enjoy activities (experiments, arts and crafts, cooking, writing, etc. …) always linked to the city and its history. A wonderful activity book for young expats living and discovering Chicago and its area!
Journey Around Chicago from A to Z (Journey Series) by Martha Zschock and Heather Zschock:
This book is interesting for children of 7 years old and up. It might be a good idea to buy it before you move (if possible), to read it with your children and discover all the places described in the book upon your arrival. You will then prepare your children to his/her new environment as well as a new expatriation abroad.
Chicago: A Novel (P.S.) by Alaa Al Aswany
This novel takes place on a college campus in Chicago after 9/11. It is about the relationships between Arab and American people in this very particular context. It gives an accurate portrait of what is America now, still dreaming but full of complexity.
Lords of Lawndale: My Life in a Chicago White Street Gang by Michael Scott
This book has been written by a former member of the Gaylords (a gang founded in the 50s), Michael Scott, who was a young man in the eighties. At this time, the gang violence, as well as the appearance of ethnic street gangs, increased. The rivalry of gangs was at the top and the author experienced it. He wrote this book on real facts. By reading this story, you will better understand one side of Chicago: its gang history (or at least a part of it).
Chicago: A Biography by Dominic A. Pacyga
If there is a book to read about Chicago and its history, it is the one. It has been written by the specialist of Chicago history, currently Professor in the Department of Humanities, History and Social Sciences at Columbia College University.
The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City (Chicago Visions and Revisions) by Carl Smith
This book is an extremely well-researched book dealing with the 1909 urban plan of Chicago. Daniel Burnham’s plan was the first City Plan in North America. The book deals with the historical and organizational contexts of the plan. It describes and explains its contents. You will understand why the city is the way it is today by reading this book.
The New Chicago: A Social and Cultural Analysis by John Koval, Larry Bennett, Michael Bennett, and Fassil Demissie
This book is mainly for those interested in social sciences. It explores ithe new faces of Chicago. The authors have studied the new economy of Chicago, the new urban face of the city, and so on. Through their case studies each contributors analyzes the role of each community in the development and the change of the city.
The Mayors, 3rd Edition: The Chicago Political Tradition by Professor Paul M. Green and Professor Emeritus Melvin G. Holli (Paperback – Jan 12, 2005)
This book analyzes the role of all the Chicago mayors have had in the local government and local politics. The contributors explain what the traditional power structure is in the city. This book is compulsory to read if you wish to understand local politics and more particularly the reign of the Daley family on local government.
Lonely Planet Chicago (City Guide) by Karla Zimmerman
Simply the best to discover Chicago and its surroundings!
60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Chicago: Including Aurora, Northwest Indiana, and Waukegan by Ted Villaire
This book will be very useful for those who wish to discover by foot the natural surroundings of Chicago. This guide will provide you the right tips and information for a day hike (trail length, hiking duration, hike’s difficulty, maps, how to get there).
Great Escapes: Chicago: Day Trips, Weekend Getaways, Easy Planning, Quick Access, Best Places to Visit (Great Escapes) by Karla Zimmerman
This guide will give you full of ideas and good tips for week-end daytrips around Chicago and Illinois. A must have.
In the same vein as the previous book but less up to date, you can also check: Quick Escapes Chicago, 5th: 26 Weekend Getaways in and around the Windy City by Bonnie Miller Rubin and Marcy Mason. This guide includes ideas of week-ends and day trips in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan.