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Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty
Contributor(s): Glaser, Linda, Nivola, Claire A. (Illustrator)

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ISBN: 0547171846     ISBN-13: 9780547171845
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Binding Type: School And Library - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: April 2010

Annotation: The story of Emma Lazarus, who, despite her life of privilege, became a tireless advocate for the immigrants who arrived in New York City in the 1880s and wrote a famous poem for the Statue of Liberty.

Click for more in this series: Jane Addams Award Book (Awards)
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Statue of Liberty (New York, N.Y.); Juvenile literature.
Poets, American; 19th century; Biography; Juvenile literature.
Women social reformers; New York (State); New York; Biography; Juvenile literature.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Nonfiction | History | Symbols, Monuments, Etc.
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Social Issues | Emigration & Immigration
- Juvenile Nonfiction | History | United States
Dewey: 811/.4
LCCN: 2009026924
Lexile Measure: 790
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 1-2, Age 6-7
Series: Jane Addams Award Book (Awards)
Book type: Easy Non Fiction
Physical Information: 11.25" H x 8.25" W x 0.50" (0.84 lbs) 30 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 136162
Reading Level: 5.5   Interest Level: Lower Grades   Point Value: 0.5
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q49384
Reading Level: 4.2   Interest Level: Grades K-2   Point Value: 1.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): IV>
Linda Glaser's grandparents emigrated from eastern Europe in the late 1800's to New York City, where they first saw the huge statue.
Claire Nivola's parents and grandparents arrived by ship in New York harbor in 1939, passing under the gaze of the Statue of Liberty, as part of the great European flight from anti-Semitism and Fascism.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall)
Glaser's account of how Emma Lazarus came to write her iconic poem is brief, yet telling--especially when complemented by Nivola's eloquent illustrations. Her rectilinear compositions and poses; generalized figures; and bright, limited palette capture New York City's opulent upper crust and the indigent yet dignified newcomers with equal skill. An author's note and the text of the poem are appended. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #3)
Glaser's account of how Emma Lazarus came to write her iconic poem "The New Colossus" is brief, its language far simpler than the sonnet itself (which begins, "Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, / With conquering limbs astride from land to land"). Brief, yet telling -- especially when complemented by Nivola's eloquent scenes of the needy immigrants Lazarus befriended, bravely ignoring the customs and prejudices of her privileged class. That many were Jewish, as she was, awakened her interest and empathy. She devoted herself to helping them learn English and find jobs, and to writing poems and articles to champion them. Her most famous poem was responsible for making the connection in the public mind between the statue, France's gift of friendship to the United States, and those "huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Nivola's rectilinear compositions and poses, her generalized figures, and her bright, limited palette recall Barbara Cooney's period scenes, capturing New York City's opulent upper crust and the indigent yet dignified newcomers with equal skill. An excellent introduction to both Lady Liberty and the poem. An author's note and the text of the poem are appended. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2010 March #3)

Emma Lazarus (1849–1887) was a child of privilege. But her dedication to the impoverished refugees who shared her Jewish faith transcended the conventions of class and gender ("At that time in the 1880s people believed that a fine lady like Emma should not mingle with poor people"), and inspired her to create the poem found on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Her now familiar words—"Give me your tired, your poor"—transformed it from its original intent, as a gift of friendship from France, into a symbol, a promise of hope and refuge for immigrants. Glaser's (Hoppy Hanukkah!) concise narration, reminiscent of blank verse, may feel a little chilly at first glance, but her authorial restraint actually helps readers make a more direct connection to the still-radical spirit behind the poem's ornate, distancing language. Nivola (Planting the Trees of Kenya), however, may be a little too close to Glaser's aesthetic to make this book wholly satisfying. The flattened perspectives and tidy delicacy of her watercolor and gouache paintings tend to dampen the story's emotional urgency. Ages 5–8. (Apr.)

[Page 51]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2010 March)

Gr 2–4—A gentle tribute to Emma Lazarus, very much in the style of Barbara Cooney's Eleanor (Viking, 1996). Glaser describes the poet as a child of privilege who was moved by the plight of immigrants in the 1880s. On a visit to Ward's Island, "her heart hurt to see them." She began helping them to learn English and get jobs, and she increased awareness of their plight through her poetry and other writings. Asked, along with other writers of the time such as Mark Twain and Walt Whitman, to write a poem to raise money for a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, she composed one that became part of the fabric of America. Nivola's delicately composed watercolor and gouache paintings appear in frames on each page, with a few lines of potent text in clean white space either underneath or to the side. The pictures, with their slight folk-art feel, capture both the time and action of the story, while the text illuminates the woman. An author's note and the full text of the poem complete the book. A worthwhile addition for most collections.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ

[Page 118]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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