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Lady Liberty: A Biography Hardcover – May 13, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 3–8—This handsome, thoroughly researched picture book tells the story of the statue from conception to dedication from the points of view of the many different players in Liberty's dramatic life. Beginning with the author imagining how her Latvian grandfather felt when he first spied "her," the presentation ends with several quotes from other European immigrants, describing their thoughts as "The Lady" welcomed them to America. The book's unique structure enables Rappaport to pack a wealth of background and detail into the text in an interesting, engaging way. Each spread features a one-and-a-half-page illustration, rendered in watercolor, ink, and pencil, accompanied by a framed narrative poem. Children meet Édouard de Laboulaye, the French law professor who conceived of the statue, and sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, with whom he collaborated. Assistant Marie Simon outlines the intensive mathematical process of turning the original four-foot clay model into the copper "Colossus" she would become. Other voices include Charles P. Stone, a construction supervisor on Bedloe's Island, and Joseph Pulitzer, whose moving editorials inspired 100,000 Americans to donate money when Congress and the Mayor of New York would not. Tavares's evocative paintings bring each perspective to life, from images of an immigrant's outstretched arms to the countless workers measuring, building, and digging. A beautiful, innovative volume.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* The noble face of the Statue of Liberty graces this “biography,” which presents the story of its conception and construction in France, the efforts to raise funds on both sides of the Atlantic, preparations for her arrival in New York, and the celebration culminating in her unveiling in 1886. Rappaport tells the story in a series of free-verse poems representing the reflections of individuals, from Bartholdi, who designed the statue, to Lazarus, who wrote the words on her base, to Pulitzer, who raised significant funds in America, to Florence de Foreest, a little girl who donated her roosters to be sold for the cause, to Rappaport herself, who imagines her immigrant grandfather’s first sight of Liberty. The first-person narratives effectively convey the personal significance the statue has had for many people. Large in scale and monumental in effect, the watercolor, ink, and pencil illustrations, including a dramatic vertical foldout page showing Lady Liberty at her unveiling, offer often beautiful views of her many-faceted story. A source bibliography and a recommended reading list are appended. With its intimate narratives and handsome artwork, this large-format book offers a unique portrayal of an iconic statue. Grades 2-5. --Carolyn Phelan

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (May 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763625302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763625306
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.5 x 12.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,059,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By tvtv3 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
LADY LIBERTY: A BIOGRAPHY is a wonderful crafted book written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by Matt Tavares that tells the story of the how the Statue of Liberty came to be created. The story is told in short poems spoken from the point of view of the people who made Lady Liberty and brought her to the United States. These people include Edouard De Laboulaye, Auguste Bartholdi, Marie Simon, Gustave Eiffel, Emma Lazarus, Charles P. Stone, Joseph Pulitzer, Florence De Forest, Jose Marti, and an introduction written by Doreen Rappaport. In some cases the biographical poems use the actual words of the people who spoke them. The end of the book has a few selected quotes from immigrants who legally came to the United States and passed by Lady Liberty, as well as a page full of the Statue of Liberty's measurements, and another page presented a timeline of important events in her creation and life. The book does an excellent job of illustrating how it was the people of France and the United States, and not the respective governments of those countries, who made the Statue of Liberty possible. The book is really well researched and is beautifully illustrated. I even learned something from reading this book; I didn't know that Liberty Island was originally called Bedloe's Island. LADY LIBERTY: A BIOGRAPHY is an excellent historical children's book.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book about the Statue of Liberty. It is very moving and I am very impressed with it. I teach ESOL students so immigration is a factor in all my students lives whether they are living here for the rest of their lives or just visiting here for a couple of years while their parents attend university here. I am also a big fan of Doreen Rappaport who wrote wonderful picture books about Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon. Lady Liberty tells her story by covering life stories of major figures involved in the creation of the statue. This is quite effective. I learned more about the making of the statue than I had before and I felt very in tune with the people who made the statue happen. The French governments and the US governments weren't all that interested in the project, they had other concerns on their minds and it was more of a bother than anything anyone wanted. It was the pushing of some people from both continents to make it happen and the rest liked it. The courage of the creators was enormous because at any time, people could have convinced them to call it quits. Human creatively and determination is always a good tale.
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Format: Hardcover
Doreen Rappaport and Matt Tavares have created an incredibly beautiful and moving book in Lady Liberty: A Biography. Each page features the perspective of those involved in building and promoting the monumental Statue of Liberty, from Auguste Bartholdi the sculptor to Emma Lazarus, the poet that created the words that grace the bottom of the statue. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful and accompany the text perfectly. Also included are the dimensions of the statue and the important events surrounding Lady Liberty, from construction to completion.

This book is an must have for all library and school collections, never have I come across a better description of how the Statue of Liberty was created and the emotions it evoked in the many different people connected with her. I loved reading each page and savored the lovely illustrations. Though the size of a picture book and about the same length in pages, I think I involved myself for close to an hour while reviewing it. I really believe kids will love to read this book, especially if they've seen the Lady up close, and adults will enjoy it in the same way I have, savoring the facts and the illustrations alike. A lot of other bloggers have posted about this title, all positively as far as I can tell, and I'm certainly in agreement with them. Definitely a must-have!
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Format: Hardcover
Told from the viewpoints of the people who conceptualized, financed, and built the Statue of Liberty, this remarkable book describes how the Lady Liberty was transformed from a bold idea in France to an enormous symbol of freedom in New York Harbor. In France in 1865, Professor Édouard de Laboulaye shared with his colleagues his vision of building a monument to commemorate the American Revolution and to celebrate the friendship between France and the United States. Ten years later this vision began to take shape through the hands of Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor who believed in the possibility of de Laboulaye's dream. It took another eleven years for various crews to design the copper sheeting, engineer the internal steel structure, ship the pieces to America, build the pedestal, erect the steel skeleton, attach the copper shell to the steel framework, and formally dedicate the Statue of Liberty.

The author and illustrator do an excellent job in communicating both the visible and the less visible work involved in building the Statue of Liberty. Much credit goes to the efforts by poet Emma Lazarus to write the inspiring sonnet that was engraved on a plaque on the statue's base: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses..." Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World, also played a crucial role in raising money to finance the construction of the pedestal in the face of opposition from government and business leaders. Intertwined with the interesting historical narratives are valuable economics lessons about human resources, jobs, immigration, and altruism. The stunning artwork and informative text work well together to make reading this book a truly rewarding experience.
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