Friday, July 04, 2008

Poetry Friday: Lady Liberty

Rappaport, Doreen. 2008. Lady Liberty: A Biography. Illustrated by Matt Tavares.

Lady Liberty is both beautifully written and beautifully illustrated. Though I must admit it was the illustrations that first caught my eye. I love Tavares' style. The colors. The tones. There's just something so rich, so expressive. It works for me really really well. I just love the illustrations. They are a large part of why this book is so amazing. The book itself, Lady Liberty, tells the twenty year story of how 'Lady Liberty' came to be.

The Statue of Liberty has come to symbolize America. To symbolize freedom. To symbolize all our nation stands for and believes. This is the story of her creation to her dedication ceremony a little over twenty years later.

The story is told through poems. Poems with many voices or narrators all telling one story, sharing one dream. Two nations, one goal.

My favorite, if I had to choose, is the poem narrated by Emma Lazarus.

Emma Lazarus
New York City,November 1883

A gala auction is being held
to raise money for Liberty's pedestal.
Famous artists are donating paintings.
I was asked to write a poem
to be sold along with poems
by Longfellow and Whitman.
It is a great honor to be asked.
I can write about anything I want.
But I have had trouble writing lately
because I feel too sad.

In the past few years in Russia,
hundreds of Jews have been killed.
Thousands have been persecuted,
their homes burned, their shops destroyed.
They trek hundreds of miles across Europe
with only the clothes on their backs,
hoping to find ships to take them to America.

We Jews are not new to hatred.
Almost two hundred years ago
my ancestors fled Europe, too.
America was a land of hope for them.
it is still a land of hope.

Soon when people arrive in the New World,
they will be welcomed
by a caring, powerful woman.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Paige Y. 1:06 PM  

I really want this one. It looks beautiful. Do you think it could be a Caldecott possibility?

Bobbi 8:26 PM  

This sounds like one I would enjoy. Thanks!

Tarie 7:29 AM  

I also liked this book. I agree with everything you said about it! Lady Liberty: A Biography is excellent!

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