From School Library Journal
Grade 2–4—A gentle tribute to Emma Lazarus, very much in the style of Barbara Cooney's Eleanor (Viking, 1996). Glaser describes the poet as a child of privilege who was moved by the plight of immigrants in the 1880s. On a visit to Ward's Island, "her heart hurt to see them." She began helping them to learn English and get jobs, and she increased awareness of their plight through her poetry and other writings. Asked, along with other writers of the time such as Mark Twain and Walt Whitman, to write a poem to raise money for a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, she composed one that became part of the fabric of America. Nivola's delicately composed watercolor and gouache paintings appear in frames on each page, with a few lines of potent text in clean white space either underneath or to the side. The pictures, with their slight folk-art feel, capture both the time and action of the story, while the text illuminates the woman. An author's note and the full text of the poem complete the book. A worthwhile addition for most collections.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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Growing up in a wealthy Jewish American family in the late nineteenth century, Emma Lazarus “only knew people / who had plenty of everything.” But in New York’s harbor, she saw impoverished new immigrants, tired and hungry, sad and sick, many having fled persecution, and she defied both the prevailing view that women should keep quiet and the widespread prejudice that immigrants would “ruin the country.” The art and words are moving in this picture book, which pairs free verse with detailed, full-page paintings in watercolor, ink, and gouache to tell the history behind Lazarus’ famous inscription on the Statue of Liberty. Lazarus’ complete poem, “The New Colossus,” from which the statue’s lines are drawn, appears at the book’s end, along with a picture of the statue today. Sepia-tone family photos on the back flap show the writer and artist’s own immigrant roots, which will echo with contemporary kids. Pair this with the feature “Core Collection: The New Immigrant Story,” which appeared in the August 2005 issue of Booklist. Grades K-3. --Hazel Rochman
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