Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The words of the American poet Emma Lazarus welcomed generations of immigrants to America. Inscribed on a plaque on the base of the Statue of Liberty, it offers a beacon of hope to those seeking a better life. But how did the iconic statue become such a powerful symbol of liberty? Where did it come from, and what was its purpose?
In Lady Liberty: A Biography, Doreen Rappaport tells the story of the creation of the Statue of Liberty from many perspectives–the man who conceived the idea, the artist who created the statue, the newspaper publisher who drummed up support and donations, even a young girl who donated her chickens to be sold to help pay for the statue’s base.
It’s a moving approach. The emotions of the people involved are at the forefront, and the overall effect is very powerful. Illustrations by Matt Tavares are similarly excellent. This is a must-have for kids interested in history, or as background before a trip to New York City to see Lady Liberty in person.
Review by Kate Sweeney
Lady Liberty: A Biography by Doreen Rappaport; illustrated by Matt Tavares; Candlewick; c2014