Naming Liberty

Naming Liberty

by Jane Yolen, Jim Burke
     
 

A double celebration for Independence Day!

In this wonderfully unique book, Jane Yolen and Jim Burke weave two stories at once, as readers see young Gitl in Russia leaving her home for faraway America, wondering what new name she will choose for herself when she arrives, and young artist Frederic Auguste Bartholdi dreaming of a monument he wants to build to

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Overview

A double celebration for Independence Day!

In this wonderfully unique book, Jane Yolen and Jim Burke weave two stories at once, as readers see young Gitl in Russia leaving her home for faraway America, wondering what new name she will choose for herself when she arrives, and young artist Frederic Auguste Bartholdi dreaming of a monument he wants to build to honor freedom. It is an arduous journey for Gitl as she and her family travel across land and sea to arrive on this shore, but when she sees the magnificent Statue of Liberty standing in New York Harbor, she knows her name in this great new country must be 'Liberty.'

Just in time for Independence Day, Jim Burke's magnificent paintings capture Yolen's inspired tale of a girl and an artist and their passionate belief in freedom.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - L. A. Gallaway
Naming Liberty is a beautifully written and illustrated book of parallel stories. Jane Yolen masterfully interweaves the story of a family emigrating from Russia to America and the story of the conception, building, and transporting of the Statue of Liberty to America. Both stories are well researched. The book contains many interesting and sometimes surprising facts. Each story has an engaging main character: one, a young girl, is swept up in her family's big idea of moving to America, and the other, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, an artist, is swept up in the big idea of celebrating America's hundredth birthday with a memorial to her independence. These characters give this historically accurate picture book warmth and make the facts relevant to readers of a wide age range. The rich, clean pictures clearly represent and enhance the story. Reviewer: L. A. Gallaway
Kirkus Reviews
Gitl, the youngest in her Jewish family, looks forward to escaping the pogroms and persecution of Czarist Russia. After eldest son Shmuel (now Sammy) spends two years in the States, the family joins him, following a long journey by cart, foot, train and ship. Facing pages tell the story of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and the creation of the Statue of Liberty. Arriving in New York Harbor, the sight of the welcoming great lady encourages Gitl to choose a new uniquely American name for herself: Libby, short for Liberty. Yolen's graceful text and Burke's illustrations balance the events and emotions of the parallel stories. Oil-painted panels in deep browns, greens and grays depict bearded Eastern village Jews against the modern cities of Paris and New York. The two Atlantic crossings come together in one New York Harbor view of the copper Statue, symbolizing the unifying themes of new ideas, freedom and the opportunity for a fresh start. (Picture book. 6-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399242502
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
07/03/2008
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
366,954
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 12.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother.

Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that "throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration—folk culture." Folklore is the "perfect second skin," writes Yolen. "From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world." Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts.

All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding.

Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille.

With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: "I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told."

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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