Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Jennifer Fandel
For ages 9 to 12
The Creative Company, 2007   ISBN: 978-1583414378

The Golden Gate is a one-mile-wide opening which connects San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. To the south of the opening there is the city of San Francisco and to the north are a number of Californian counties, towns, and cities – overflow from San Francisco. For many years the people in San Francisco and the suburbs had to use ferries to cross the bay. By the 1920's the traffic across the bay was so heavy that it was not uncommon for travelers to spend hours waiting to board the ferries. It was clearly time to build a bridge across the Golden Gate, but could it be done?

An engineer called Joseph B. Strauss was convinced that it could, and he put forward the first design for a bridge. He worked hard to get support for his project, and despite the stock market crash in 1929 and the beginning of the Great Depression, the people in the Bay area raised the money that was needed to pay for the bridge.

Work began in 1933 and the project was a boon for many men who were desperately looking for work. The bridge "gave hope for a more prosperous America" at a time when life was very hard indeed for millions of Americans. With its extraordinary suspension construction, its striking "International Orange" color, and its art deco style architecture, the Golden Gate Bridge became a powerful symbol for people of all kinds.

This book not only tells readers how the Golden Gate Bridge was built and why it was needed, but it also explains why the bridge was so important historically speaking. The author sets the scene and shows her audience that the bridge, just like the Statue of Liberty on the east coast of America, came to represent something vital to the people who worked on it, who traveled on and under it, and who came to visit it.

With a text which is both informative and interesting, lots of photographs, and boxes of additional notes on many of the pages, this is a perfect title for readers who have an interest in learning about modern man-made marvels.