The Statue of Liberty

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Fiction and Nonfiction for Beginning Readers

A Picnic in October

By Eve Bunting
Young narrator Tony laments his Italian-American family's annual fall excursion to the Statue of Liberty: he's cold, their picnic is heavy (it includes Lady Liberty's birthday cake), and his grandparents get "soppy." But pride overrides embarrassment after he encounters three recent immigrants who lift his grandparents' story from abstraction. Accomplished acrylic paintings illustrate the somewhat sentimental story

Description from Horn Book

Bunting once again explores larger themes through a quiet family story. Every October, on Lady Liberty's birthday, Tony and his extended family have a picnic on Liberty Island. The family rendezvous at Battery Park to take the ferry out to the island. Waiting in line, Tony, who thinks the picnic is pretty corny, is approached by a woman, obviously a new immigrant. She gestures her alarm when the ferry departs without her; she is soothed when Tony motions that the ferry will return. Once on the island, Tony's family has the picnic before toasting the statue and blowing kisses to her. Later, Tony spies the woman he had helped earlier, and the way they look up at the statue, "so still, so respectful, so . . . so peaceful, makes me choke up." This sense of refuge drifts through Bunting's text, as fundamental and natural an element of life as are the everyday incidentals she braids into the story and all of which are exquisitely caught by Carpenter's vivid illustrations.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

This is a picture book about a New York City family's bus and ferryboat ride to attend their Grandmother's annual October birthday party on Liberty Island, home of the Statue of Liberty. We see and hear young Tony as he struggles to make personal sense of his family's ritual event. To Tony, the whole performance is too far, too cold, and just plain too embarrassing--until he understands why. Art and text present a strong three-generation family supporting their matriarch. Tony comes to realize the value of family in the trip to Grandmother's birthday picnic. Art depicting harbor vistas and "zoom ins" of family faces make a satisfying storybook whole.

Description from Children's Literature

How the Second Grade Got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty

By Nathan Zimelman
Chronicles the triumphs and setbacks of the second grade as they try a variety of schemes to raise money for a trip to the Statue of Liberty.

Description from Publisher


By Allan Drummond
A symbol of freedom — the Statue of Liberty.

Here is the story of the exciting day in 1886 when the Statue of Liberty was unveiled to the world. A small boy stands at the foot of the statue, ready to relay a signal to its creator way up in Liberty's crown, telling him it is time. As anticipation builds, the boy describes the bustling scene in the harbor and on the island — all of New York waiting, including two hundred women suffragists and the President of the United States. In detailed vignettes we see the construction of the statue in France, its voyage to America, and its installation in New York Harbor.

Through rhythmic, evocative prose and energetic pen-and-wash illustrations, we are made to feel the excitement of those gathered to see Liberty's face for the first time, and to remember all that she represents.

Description from Publisher

On October 28, 1886, the sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi unveiled his magnificent statue "Liberty Enlightening the World." Legend has it that a boy was supposed to signal Bartholdi, but for some unknown reason, the signal was lost and the rope was pulled prematurely. Drummond uses this snippet of history as the framework for his recounting of this exciting day. Through the eyes of this boy, readers see it all: the pouring rain; the boats full of suffragettes protesting a female Statue of Liberty when they themselves were not allowed to vote; the sea of red, white, and blue flags, both French and American. Drummond is meticulous regarding historical details, right down to the correct name (Magnolia) for the paddle-wheeling ferryboat that took the most esteemed visitors to the island. The bright and busy watercolor illustrations dance with energy and effectively capture both period and mood. At the end of the tale, the author becomes a bit preachy ("We are free-and we must help others to be free-") but this is a minor distraction in an otherwise nicely done book. Paired with Betsy and Giulio Maestro's The Story of the Statue of Liberty, Liberty! serves as an excellent introduction to one of our national treasures and the spirit it embodies

Description from School Library Journal

The fire of patriotism has burned particularly brightly since the tragedy of September 11. Drummond begins his inspirational tale with the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor in 1886, told from the point of view of the boy who actually gave the signal to the sculptor Bartholdi. A brief description of the construction of the statue in France and America is followed by scenes of the crowds and the excitement of that moment of unveiling, and again of that at sunset when "Liberty's torch shone out bright from the land of the free to light up all the world." Our narrator concludes with his delight in the freedom we have, which "is like a flame we must all hold high and give to others and keep burning bright all around the world." Drummond's busy line and dashy watercolor washes are set on pages with lots of white space, blue sky and water. They bring a light-heartedness to the bits of text and speech balloons mingling with vignettes and larger pictures of the people and events. An introductory note adds factual background.

Description from Children's Literature

On the day of its unveiling, the flag covering the Statue of Liberty's face was mistakenly lowered too soon; Drummond imagines how it happened. The harbor was filled with boats-some of them bringing new immigrants to this country, and one containing women protesting the new statue. They found it odd that liberty should be portrayed as a woman when women were not allowed to vote in the US, and in fact only one woman and one small girl were allowed at the unveiling ceremony on the island. But the island was crowded with men-men who helped build the statue, put it together, and transport it from France. And in the crowd was a small boy enlisted by Mr. Bartholdi to signal him with his handkerchief. While everyone was waiting, the young French girl sneezed, and the young boy offered his handkerchief. And that is how the world came to see the Statue's face a little too early. Enhancing the story are Drummond's (Casey Jones) marvelous watercolors full of bright yellows, blues, and reds. The rainy gray day is reflected in the grayish-green water and the dark clothing and umbrellas of the crowds, while the excitement and importance of the event are seen in the brightly colored flags of France and the US. As the story mentions the men who put the statue together in America or made the statue in France, vignettes show the various stages and steps involved in its construction. In closing, Drummond reminds readers what freedom really means. An author's note introduces the story, separating the facts of the day from those details he imagined and giving more historical information about Lady Liberty.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

Using a bright, clear palette awash with red, white, and blue, Drummond tells the story of October 28, 1886, the day the Statue of Liberty was first unveiled in New York harbor. A boy, whose name is now lost, is on the ground, ready to signal Bartholdi, the statue's sculptor, to release the tricolor veil that covers the Lady of Liberty's face. It is the boy who describes the scene: the pouring rain; the huge crowd of men (the only women permitted on the island were the sculptor's wife and daughter); and the boatload of suffragists who asked how Liberty could be portrayed as female when women were denied the vote. This is an unusual offering. Drummond takes a kernel of history --a boy chosen to signal the sculptor--and turns it into both a thoughtful lesson and a visual pageant. Scenes of the construction of France's gift to the U.S. are shown in finely wrought, energetic, pen-and-wash images that swirl through the text, offering something new and exciting at every turn of the page. The boy knows what the Lady stands for, too: "Freedom is like a flame we must . . . keep burning bright."

Description from Booklist (Starred Review)

The Story of the Statue of Liberty

By Betsy C. Maestro
At last, an outstanding picture book on the Statue of Liberty. Although Maestro simplifies the storyincluding only the most important people's names, for exampleshe still presents an accurate account of what happened. The exceptional drawings are visually delightfulprimarily in the blue-green range, although they are in full colorand cover most of every page. Human figuresworkers, touristsare included in many drawings, indicating the statue's tremendous scale. Further, the drawings involve viewers through the use of unusual perspectives and angles and by placing the statue in scenes of city life. One depicts Bartholdi sketching the statue in the foreground as he gazes at its future site on Bedloe's Island. Another is of cranes and cables supporting laborers as they put Lady Liberty's immense cloak in place over her steel frame. This title totally eclipses the previous picture book on the same subject, Nason's Our Statue of Liberty. A section, "Additional Information about the Statue. . . ," includes excellent lists of dimensions, important people who helped with construction, repairs from 1980-86, a table of dates and Emma Lazarus' poem as well as other interesting facts. There is no index, but the facts section makes this book nearly as useful to middle-grade readers doing research as many of the other new titles on this topic. It still could be complemented by Mary J. Shapiro's How They Built the Statue of Liberty, with Huck Scarry's remarkable drawings. A striking book.

Description from School Libary journal (starred review)

Far and away the most attractive of the spate of books celebrating the centennial of the Statue of Liberty, this unfolds the story in a simple, read-aloud text set into panoramic watercolor spreads that are striking enough for use with classes or groups of children.

Description from Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Coloring Book

By A. G. Smith
Educational coloring book details Liberty's rich and stirring history; also immigration at Ellis Island. 45 illus. Captions. Introduction.

Description from Publisher

Statue of Liberty
(Step into Reading, Step 1)

By Lucille Recht Penner
Engaging, simple text by popular nonfiction writer Lucille Recht Penner details the construction and symbolism of the skyscraper-sized "Lady Liberty," France's unique gift to the United States, who watches over New York Harbor.

Description from Publisher

Fiction For Older Readers

Lily and Miss Liberty

By Carla Stevens
It's 1885; the Statue of Liberty is coming, but can't be assembled until a pedestal has been built and paid for. Almost everyone in Miss Pearson's N.Y.C. class is contributing, but Lily can't find even the smallest job to raise money; and, anyway, her mother thinks it should go to the poor rather than to some statue. Then inspiration strikes: Lily will make cardboard crowns to sell. The timing is perfect, the crowns sell like hotcakes, and Lily even gets mentioned in Mr. Pulitzer's World. Later, she gives part of her earnings to an impoverished classmate who proudly adds the money to the Pedestal Fund. The author captures the excitement of the statue's arrival, while Lily's contacts with neighbors and local shopkeepers nicely evoke the flavor of old New York's close-knit ethnic communities. Following simple directions given at the end, modern readers can make their own crowns. Celebratory and well-done.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

Anxious to raise money to help pay for the pedestal that will hold the Statue of Liberty, young Lily Lafferty makes and sells crowns outside her New York City apartment. Stevens not only ably portrays the mix of emotions in 1885 as the city awaits the arrival of the statue but also offers a glimpse of the poverty of some of the city's immigrants.

Description from Horn Book

Lily Lafferty is excited because Miss Liberty is coming to America. The French are presenting this wonderful statue as a gift, and many people are raising money to help build her pedes tal. In hopes of raising her own contribution money, Lily makes and sells crowns resembling Miss Liberty's. She and her father believe that this statue is important because it will welcome immigrant families into the U. S. for many generations to come. This enthusiasm is set against a disgruntled attitude held by some, believing that instead, money should be raised to feed the poor. Through this argument, Lily realizes Miss Liberty's true symbolism--freedom for all, of thought and expression. It is difficult not to feel the excitement that New York City experiences through all of the pageantry surrounding the statue's anticipated arrival and unveiling. Pertinent facts surrounding her origin and arrival are woven into the text. This is a warm story of a girl who experiences something truly wonderful, illustrated with numerous soft black-and-white drawings that nicely capture the characters' expressions and the period. It's an excellent introduction to historical fiction.

Description from School Library Journal

MAX's Mystery Travels:
Mystery at the Statue of Liberty: The Unwanted Ghooost!

By Nancy Ann Van Wie
Mysterious things have been happening at the Statue of Liberty! Items float across the room and spooky voices fill the air. Is Lady Liberty haunted? No one knows for sure, but the Mayor of New York City is convinced that if anyone can crack this ghost of a case, it's the world's most famous detective and V.I.K. (Very Important Koala): MAX! Fast-paced, humorous and very educational, kids will have fun following MAX and his four P.I.s (a squirrel, kangaroo, mouse and bird) as they travel from Australia to New York City to solve the mystery of the Unwanted Ghoooost!

Description from Publisher

Nonfiction For Older Readers


By Lynn Curlee
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."

Nearly 40 percent of all Americans today can trace their ancestry to people who passed directly beneath the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor after emigrating from Europe. The most colossal metal statue ever built, Lady Liberty represents the freedom and better way of life that immigrants sought in America. This big, elegant book traces the history of the "Mother of Exiles," from her inception at a dinner party in France, to model-building by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, a young French sculptor, to internal engineering by another young Frenchman named Eiffel, to its presentation from the French to the American people in 1886. LIBERTY is chock-full of compelling--sometimes overwhelming--details, including Eiffel's revolutionary use of iron girders in latticelike grids for the internal support, and the discord in the American committee charged with raising money for the pedestal. Always beaming through the facts, however, is the passion of Lady Liberty's creators and supporters. Lynn Curlee's gorgeous paintings capture the staggering size of both the project and the statue itself. This book is a stunning gift for anyone who has ever been awestruck at the first sight of the majestic symbol of America's freedom. It includes statue specifications, a timeline, and a bibliography.

Description from

Curlee's illustrations ... are quite beautiful, for they communicate not just information but also excitement and sentiment. They perfectly complement this masterly look at the story of a great national treasure, and at the vital ideas she represents.

Description from The New York Times Book Review

Curlee here turns his enthusiasm to another gigantic American icon, the Statue of Liberty. He narrates dramatically the story of Liberty's creation, from its conception by French professor de Laboulaye (who proposed the idea at a dinner party attended by young sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi) to the fulfillment of Bartholdi's obsession to create a monument to liberty that would rival the Colossus of Rhodes. Although the reader is bombarded with statistics, Curlee always keeps the dream of Liberty's creators and her creation foremost. It was not only Frenchmen, including the famous Eiffel, who invested themselves in the statue's attainment but also Americans such as Pulitzer. Curlee even shares an anecdote about the sorry fate of women excluded from the unveiling; fortunately, daring suffragists chose to make themselves part of Liberty's history. Stunning stylized portraits of the lady heighten Curlee's lucid, appreciative text. One breathtaking double-page spread shows the statue's enormous head, regally resting on a hay-strewn cart drawn by stately horses as it traverses a bridge; Curlee's copper lady shines against the dusky evening blue, lit only by street lamps. Other bold paintings juxtapose Liberty's grandeur with the comparatively insignificant, awed human observer; the statue lends herself well to the simplicity and starkness of these richly hued compositions. The book concludes with a list of specifications (the incredible figures of weight and cost), a timeline, and a bibliography.

Description from Horn Book

Building America:
The Statue of Liberty

By Craig A. Doherty and Katherine M. Doherty
The Statue of Liberty is probably the most recognized landmark in the world. For more than 100 years Liberty has stood holding her torch high as a symbol of American freedom and independence. How the statue came to stand on an island in New York Harbor is an important story in the building of America.

Our nation's unique identity has been formed, in large part, by the monuments and landmarks we have erected. Structures such as the famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., stand today as permanent reminders of the people and events that have built a strong America. Many of these structures made history even as they were created; most integrated the latest in design and technology and required the skills of thousands of workers. For the first time, the "Building America" series chronicles the massive undertakings that mark some of the greatest triumphs of human engineering. The fact that these projects were even attempted, and then completed successfully, is a testament to the boldness of human ingenuity and a tribute to the brave spirit of the American people. It is that special spirit that is now captured in the pages of the "Building America" series.

Description from Publisher

The story behind this symbol of America's freedom and democracy. The statue itself was an engineering feat for the 19th century as revealed in this well-written and researched, entertaining history that emphasizes its architecture and construction. Black-and-white archival photographs and reproductions of the statue as it was being built over the years and full-color photos of it as it stands today enhance the text.-

Description from School Library Journal

The Statue of Liberty

By Patricia Ryon Quiri
Recounts how the Statue of Liberty was planned, built, dedicated, repaired over the years, and then restored in the 1980s.

Description from Publisher

The Statue of Liberty

By Ann Heinrichs
This is an attractive, well laid out and informative book about the Statue of Liberty. The text is very complete, covering the history of the statue to its repair in 1986. A chapter about Ellis Island and immigration adds to the understanding of the meaning of the statue for many people. Photographs are well placed and well chosen. A timeline, glossary, index and brief facts complete the book. This is a fine addition to any collection. I will be looking for the other titles in the We the People series.

Description from South Sound Book Review Council

The Statue of Liberty is certainly one of the most recognizable American symbols and one that has lasting memories for immigrants who sailed past her uplifted torch and burned with the hope of creating new lives in a new land. The statue also symbolizes the friendship and admiration between the French and American peoples. How the statue came to be, the men who designed and created her, and the arduous fundraising efforts are ably and clearly described. Especially interesting is Pulitzer's effort to raise funds for the pedestal and his promise to print in his newspaper, the names of every donor—even those who could only send a few pennies. Emma Lazarus and her poem and the recent renovations to the statue are all here, once again emphasizing the French and American relationship, as a team of French workers assisted in building a new torch. A good introductory book for students that contains full color and black-and-white illustrations, a glossary, a timeline and other informative and interesting back matter. Part of the "We the People" series.

Description from Children's Literature

The Statue of Liberty

By Dana Meachen Rau
The focus of these timely books is America: The symbols it cherishes, the rights its people have forged, the workings of its government. All three authors [Susan H. Gray, Patricia J. Murphy, and Dana Meachen Rau] write in a consistently engaging and informative manner and without talking down to students, they offer thorough explanations of sometimes complex topics in terms appropriate for the age group. The format of this series is colorful inside and out, with an appropriate color scheme of red, white, and blue. The volumes usually begin with a definition of its symbol subject, develop the subject’s history with interesting facts, then describe what the symbol means to the American people. Each book features a “Did you know?” section, which gives brief, interesting trivia about the topic. All of the books encourage students to seek additional information by visiting the library for specific titles, exploring suggested Web sites, writing to various sources, or by visiting historic sites. This series would grace the shelves of any library serving the primary grades.

Description from Library Talk

The formatting of the book is great for kids to learn how to use expository text. The book contains a table of contents, glossary, index, additional resources section, headings using the W-H questions, and boldface print for important vocabulary words. The illustrations have simple captions to connect a picture with the text. Comparing the size of the Statue of Liberty with familiar things in a child’s world should help young people to understand how big it is. Each page answers a question about Lady Liberty, and additional resources are provided for youngsters who want to pursue the topic further.

Description from College of Education - Boise, ID

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