Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty

Ann R. Heinrichs
For ages 9 to 12
Compass Point Books, 1999   ISBN: 978-0756501006

Since 1886 thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world have been welcomed to America by the Statue of Liberty. Many of these new arrivals were moved to tears when they first saw the enormous lady with her torch, and the statue has come to represent freedom to Americans and non-Americans alike.

From the days of the American Revolution, the United States and France had close ties and a warm alliance. As the one hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence approached, some Frenchmen felt that they should give the United States a gift. It had to be something special, something meaningful.

A young sculptor called Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi was chosen to make the gift and his plan was to build an enormous statue. Bartholdi visited the United States and found the perfect site for the statue – Bedloe's Island in New York's Harbor.

Back in France, while the money was being raised for the project, Bartholdi got to work, and in June of 1884 the statue was complete. There was still one problem however. The statue needed to have a special pedestal to stand on and the American people were going to have to pay for it. Thankfully there were enough people who wanted to see the statue standing on Bedloe's Island and the money was raised.

This excellent We the People title not only tells the story of the Statue of Liberty but it also shows readers why this statue came to mean so much to so many. The author describes what it was like to be an immigrant coming to America, and how hard it was to make the journey. She also tells the story of Emma Lazarus, who was the poet whose words are now inscribed on one of the walls of the statue's pedestal. Well written and with plenty of period illustrations and photographs, this is a moving story that children will find interesting.