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Liberty's Voice: The Emma Lazarus Story

Overview

“The evocative illustrations marry well with this accessible, appealing story of a woman both ahead of her time and an important American writer who left a lasting literary legacy to every United States citizen.”
School Library Journal

Emma Lazarus overcame the barriers of her day to become one of the leading poets of the nineteenth century. She used her celebrity to help the poor and impoverished immigrants of Eastern Europe. When the statue Liberty Enlightening the World came...

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Overview

“The evocative illustrations marry well with this accessible, appealing story of a woman both ahead of her time and an important American writer who left a lasting literary legacy to every United States citizen.”
School Library Journal

Emma Lazarus overcame the barriers of her day to become one of the leading poets of the nineteenth century. She used her celebrity to help the poor and impoverished immigrants of Eastern Europe. When the statue Liberty Enlightening the World came to the United States as a gift from France, it was Emma's poem "The New Colossus" that became forever connected with this American icon. Emma's words have served as a rallying call to generations of immigrants. In breathtaking color, veteran artist Stacey Schuett brings life to Erica Silverman's story of one of the great women of America.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After publishing an early collection of poems and seeking Ralph Waldo Emerson's mentorship, young Emma Lazarus became immersed in the struggle for immigrants' rights. Schuett portrays Emma with quiet dignity, while swirling, abstract curlicues in sunset tones suggest a physical manifestation of her creative vigor. The opulence of women's gowns contrasts with somber depictions of impoverished Jews arriving at New York Harbor. But Silverman and Schuett close with an uplifting, iconic image: as Emma composes "The New Colossus," Lady Liberty holds her torch against a peach-colored sky. Ages 6–8. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Lazarus, born into a life of privilege in New York City in 1849, loved poetry from a very young age. First inspired and later taught via correspondence by Ralph Waldo Emerson, she heeded what her mentor called "listening to the whisper of the voice within" and filled up countless notebooks with poetry. "Words grew, and images took shape"; this recurring expression describing Lazarus's creative process is symbolized by a corresponding motif of stylized swirls and stars superimposed on the expressive pen-and-ink/watercolor illustrations. As Lazarus became aware of the plight of throngs of Russian Jewish immigrants pouring into New York Harbor, her writing became "fueled by anger at injustice, pride in her heritage, and hope for a better world" as she became a passionate humanitarian. When France sent a new statue called "Liberty Enlightening the World" to the United States, Lazarus was invited to submit a poem to help raise funds at auction for the purchase of a pedestal. She drew upon her hopes and dreams for the many immigrants she had helped to craft her poem "The New Colossus." This short biography goes into greater detail about her development and life as a writer than Linda Glaser's Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty (Houghton, 2010). The evocative illustrations marry well with this accessible, appealing story of a woman both ahead of her time and an important American writer who left a lasting literary legacy to every United States citizen.—Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT
Kirkus Reviews

Emma Lazarus lived in New York City with her well-to-do family and was a writer from a very early age. Her father privately published a collection of her poems when she was only 17, and the next year a publishing house followed suit. She met Ralph Waldo Emerson at a party, and he praised her work and sent her instruction and reading suggestions. She wrote for the Century magazine and, inspired by her editor there, worked tirelessly for Jewish immigrants. "The New Colossus," the poem for which she is best known, was placed on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty only after her death. Silverman's language is regrettably clichéd and romanticized, and that is carried over in the over-bright colors and nervous line of the pictures. Schuett uses a spiraling swirl of pastels, dots and stars to denote thinking and creativity. While it is in keeping with the tone set by the text, it serves to distract. A much stronger picture book for the same audience is Linda Glaser and Claire Nivola's Emma's Poem (2010). (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780147511744
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 5/15/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 730,000
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Stacey Schuett is the illustrator of Purple Mountain Majesties, by Barbara Younger (Dutton), in addition to many other books for young readers. She lives in Cazadero, California.

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