Lady Liberty: A Biography

by Doreen Rappaport

Hardcover, 2008



Local notes

731 Rap





Candlewick (2008), 40 pages


Tells the story of the Statue of Liberty, the sculptor, the engineer, the newspaper publisher, the poet and many others who had a part in the erection of this monument.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

40 p.; 10.16 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member shelf-employed
Lady Liberty is a biography of a national monument, a history of the myriad of people and events necessary to create one of the modern world’s most recognized symbols of freedom. Each “chapter” of this picture book consists of a short vignette about a person, related in some way to the Statue
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of Liberty. The vignettes are typeset like poetry, in narrow columns on the edge of the page, the illustrations receiving the majority of attention. Rappaport begins the book with a piece about herself, had her grandfather not told her stories of his flight from Latvia and his admiration for “The Lady,” the book would not have been written. From herself, Rappaport continues on from Edouard De Laboulaye, who first envisioned the gift to America to common Americans who donated pennies, nickels, dimes and even roosters (!) to raise money for the statue’s great base. Rappaport profiles poet Emma Lazarus (“bring be your tired, your poor, …”), sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, assistant Marie Simon, engineer Gustave Eiffel, construction supervisor Charles P. Stone, publisher Joseph Pulitzer, and journalist José Martí. Each story is written simply and majestically,

She wears a flowing robe
Like the ancient goddess Libertas.
Her right foot is raised.
Liberty walks.
Freedom never stands still.
A broken shackle and chain lie near her feet.
American broke the links of slavery
To fulfill its promise of equality for all.

The watercolor, ink and pencil illustrations are all double spreads, with the exception of one lengthwise foldout of the completed statue after its initial unveiling, resplendent in its original copper coloring. Tavares’ illustrations are as varied as the scenes which they depict, a grim immigrant working to dig the massive hole for the statue’s foundation, a serious Joseph Pulitzer in his darkened office writing editorials to embarrass the nation’s elite into giving financial support for the statue’s installation, an enthusiastic New Jersey farm girl racing after the rooster she plans to donate to the cause of Lady Liberty.

Completing the book are remembrances from individual immigrants, dimensions of the statue, important events and dates, author’s and illustrator’s notes, and resources.

A beautiful book.
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LibraryThing member librariankristin
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of the Statue of Liberty in a series of poems from varyting points of view.
LibraryThing member mirandamae18
This non-fiction book had beautiful pictures created with watercolor, ink and pencil. It highlights all the important people it took to build the Statue of Liberty. I think youth would really enjoy the layout of this book and they way the information is organized. Each page talks about one
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important person and all the information is listed on sides of each page so the pictures are still the main focus of the book. This book also contains a fold out page with a giant picture of the Statue of Liberty, a page the lists all the dimensions of the Statue of Liberty, and another page with important events and facts. It has a lot of text, but could be read in any order if you weren’t worried about the time-line of how the Statue of Liberty was built and just wanted to learn about the people that were important to its creation. I would love to use this book as part of our American Symbols unit.
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LibraryThing member D.Holliman
I found the book visually appealing and the text was very interesting. I think that students would enjoy this book. Rappaport presented the information through the thoughts of several individuals giving the reader a broader understanding of the amount of people who had connections to the creation
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of the statue of Liberty. She also provides the reader with suggestions for further reading if the would like to learn more.
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LibraryThing member MarthaL
A large beautifully illustrated and inspiring story of the Statue of Liberty written in different voices. Sharing in a typical picture book manner may not work for this work especially with younger children. The pictures are vivid and tell a the story in themselves. But at the turn of the page a
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different person speaks adding interesting details to the storyhe teacher or librarian should so acquaint herself with the text that she can narrate in her own words the biography of the Statue of Libery.
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LibraryThing member lanebrown
This book tells the story of the Statue of Liberty from the first-person viewpoint of many different people involved in her creation. The author read actual letters and recrafted the language into a book for children. The accounts are given in chronological order and begin with Edouard De Laboulaye
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thinking up the idea for a birthday present to America. It is so interesting to read how many people were involved in her creation and how many people were affected by the statue and still are today.

This is a fabulous book to integrate into any unit on US symbols. I think students would enjoy hearing about the Statue of Liberty from the voices of important historical figures rather than simply hearing many facts listed on a page.

From a writing standpoint, this book would throw an interesting twist into a biography writing unit. It is interesting to think about the life of someone or something told through the eyes of the people directly affected by it. I think it would be interesting to read this book to a class and have them construct biographies of one another. Each student could write an exert for their classmates and the writings could then be compiled into a personal biography for each child.
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LibraryThing member tnelson725
This biography tells the idea and preparation of Lady Liberty and includes quotes from immigrants who explain what they felt when they first saw the statue. The story is told in free-verse poetry and includes expressions of Batholdi, who designed her, Lazarus, who wrote the words on her base,
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Pulitzer, who raised money, and others who were important to the making the Statue of Liberty possible. The author’s grandfather even has a quote included describing the significance of the statue to him and when he immigrated it to America.

I learned from this book that the Statue of Liberty was originally called Bedloe's Island! I thought that a lot of the information was really interesting.

For the classroom, I would ask students if they know when their family came to America or if they have been here the whole time. I would include a lesson of diversity and state how that is what makes America so important and strong.
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LibraryThing member pataustin
It's not often one reads a biography of a sculpture but Rappaport details here in poetic verse the people involved in the 21-year journey from idea to statue. Magnificent paintings accompany the poetic sketches of Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor, Marie Simon, Bartholdi's assistant (I love that she
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gives credit to a woman -- often not done in the art world, Emma Lazarus, poet and more.
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LibraryThing member scote23
BIS Award Nominee

Poems about the creation of the Statue of Liberty. I'm not sure it's the best format for the age group, but the pictures are gorgeous.
LibraryThing member KimJD
A beautifully written and illustrated snapshot into the lives of some of the key players responsible for envisioning this special lady and making her a reality. Students old enough to be familiar with French and American relationships during the Revolutionary War and beyond (esp. grades 4-6) will
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appreciate this powerful look at all that went into her creation during the late 1800's.
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LibraryThing member abrozi1
This book is an interesting biography about Lady Liberty and the various people it took to create her and their own image or thoughts on her. Many different people, many who were immigrants played a part in the creation of Lady Liberty. My favorite part was the author's story of how her grandfather
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remembered Lady Liberty coming ashore in NYC. For example, she described how people were clapping, hugging, and crying as they saw the ship bring her in. It was a very powerful moment in time that was very accurately depicted by the author and illustrator. The illustrations were very life like and unbelievably none of them were photographs. I think this book is a great read to learn a little or a lot more about Lady Liberty and her many fans.
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LibraryThing member acahil3
Summary & Review:
This biography on the Statue of Liberty is told by the perspective of those who created Lady Liberty. Poetry and elements of symbolism are integrated into this historical biography which takes place in New York. Colorful pictures help to keep children engaged and the material is
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understandable to young readers.
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(38 ratings; 4.2)
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