Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Lynn Curlee
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 8 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2000   ISBN: 0689828233

The Statue of Liberty is considered to be a quintessential America symbol.  The great statue - the largest statue ever to be made out of copper - has welcomed millions of people to American shores. As they sailed past Lady Liberty men, women, and children from dozens of countries have been inspired to hope that America would indeed be a place of liberty for them. The peculiar thing is that this statue was not actually conceived or made in America at all. She is French.

In the late 1700’s both France and America experienced revolutions. In America, the transition from being a colony to being a republic was painful and lives were lost, but in the end it was worth it. By the late 1800’s America was prosperous and it had a sound democratic government. By contrast France’s revolution was unspeakably bloody, and well into the 1860’s the country was unsettled and rife with problems.

In 1865, a well-known French law professor called Edouard De Laboulaye - who knew a great deal about American history - had a dinner party at this home. Laboulaye, like many of his compatriots, wished that France had a republic government that was similar to the American model. He wanted to give America a gift, a gift that would serve as “a memorial to their independence.” This idea greatly appealed to one of the guests at that dinner party. A sculptor called Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi decided that he had to be the person to create this ‘memorial,’ and in 1871, he set about making the dream a reality.

After years of work, Bartholdi’s creation – an enormous copper statue of a woman – was formally dedicated on October 28, 1886.