LET LIBERTY RISE!: How America’s Schoolchildren Helped Save the Statue of Liberty, by Chana Stiefel and Chuck Groenink, Scholastic Press; Illustrated edition, March 2, 2021, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 6-8)
Learn how the Statue of Liberty truly belongs to all Americans in Let Liberty Rise!: How America’s Schoolchildren Helped Save the Statue of Liberty, written by Chana Stiefel and illustrated by Chuck Groenink.
On America’s 100th birthday, the people of France built a giant gift! It was one of the largest statues the world had ever seen — and she weighed as much as 40 elephants! And when she arrived on our shores in 250 pieces, she needed a pedestal to hold her up. Few of America’s millionaires were willing to foot the bill.
Then, Joseph Pulitzer (a poor Hungarian immigrant-cum-newspaper mogul) appealed to his fellow citizens. He invited them to contribute whatever they could, no matter how small an amount, to raise funds to mount this statue. The next day, pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters poured in. Soon, Pulitzer’s campaign raised enough money to construct the pedestal. And with the help of everyday Americans (including many thousands of schoolchildren!) the Statue of Liberty rose skyward, torch ablaze, to welcome new immigrants for a life of freedom and opportunity! —Synopsis provided by Scholastic Press
As an American, how much do you know about the Statue of Liberty? You probably know it’s a symbol of freedom. That it welcomed immigrants on their way to Ellis Island. You might even know it was a gift from the French.
Like most people, I thought I “knew” the statue’s history. I knew it was a gift from the French. I knew about its symbolism. I had no idea, though, of how it physically came to be. That’s where Let Liberty Rise! really shines. The story behind Lady Liberty’s construction both in France and in New York is fascinating. There were so many small contributions that made it possible. “Out of many, one” is the United States motto, and it perfectly sums up how the statue came to be.
Chana Stiefel’s text is not only accessible but inviting. She’s managed to convey a lot in a small space. Back matter, including a timeline, factoids and historical photographs add to the interest. And Chuck Groenink’s charming illustrations bring life and humor to the tale. This is a lovely picture book that will serve well in both home and school settings.
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