LET LIBERTY RISE!

HOW AMERICA’S SCHOOLCHILDREN HELPED SAVE THE STATUE OF LIBERTY

All rise to this evocative, empowering offering.

Here’s the inspiring story of how ordinary citizens helped the Statue of Liberty literally stand up.

In spring 1885, Lady Liberty sailed from France, packed in pieces in 214 crates, and waited on what was to be renamed Liberty Island in New York Harbor. The pedestal on which France’s gift to the United States was to stand was barely half built; the money had run out, and New York’s wealthiest refused to underwrite its completion. Enter Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World. To encourage the public’s generosity, he promised to print the name of every contributor to the pedestal fund, no matter how tiny the amount donated. Money flooded in from around the country, much of it from children who relinquished savings set aside for desired treats. The campaign raised $100,000, and, with additional funds from Congress, the pedestal was completed. Finally, Lady Liberty was assembled and installed, and a grand parade and flotilla celebrated her in October 1886. Sparkling language movingly describes how everyday folks effected powerful change. Readers will relish knowing that kids played a pivotal role in the campaign; many actual quotes from children are included. Lively, colorful illustrations capturing the period depict diverse characters and wonderful perspectives; a 90-degree turn of the book near the end sets Liberty against a fireworks backdrop. The backmatter includes fascinating informative material. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45.5% of actual size.)

All rise to this evocative, empowering offering. (timeline, further facts, bibliography, photos) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-22588-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

DEAR RUBY, HEAR OUR HEARTS

Anemic messages of hope from an iconic activist.

Civil rights legend Bridges encourages young people to persevere.

After becoming the face of school integration at just 6 years old, Bridges continued to further her legacy by visiting schools across the U.S. Over the past 25 years, she has received letters from thousands of students with “ideas and concerns that ran deeper than we grown-ups gave them credit for.” In her latest book for kids, Bridges responds to notes from children grappling with political and social crises, including anti-Asian racism, climate change, and gun violence. The issues that matter to young Americans come alive in Cabuay’s energetic illustrations, which make deft use of color and texture. On one spread, a short, brown-skinned child named Tala, bullied for being short, strides confidently down a school hallway past classmates who whisper and laugh. In the accompanying letter, Tala talks about drawing strength from Bridges’ bravery; Bridges’ reply emphasizes that “it’s okay to be different because what really matters is your heart and what’s inside!” The correspondences are brief, barely skimming the surface, and Bridges’ messages are too general to have a genuine impact. Backmatter, which includes a glossary with pronunciation guides, is helpful but does little to connect Bridges’ historic contributions to the issues young people are facing today. This picture book’s superficial discussion of important topics doesn’t live up to Bridges’ advocacy or Cabuay’s dynamic art.

Anemic messages of hope from an iconic activist. (more information on Bridges) (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781338753912

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

THE LITTLE BOOK OF JOY

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40.

From two Nobel Peace Prize winners, an invitation to look past sadness and loneliness to the joy that surrounds us.

Bobbing in the wake of 2016’s heavyweight Book of Joy (2016), this brief but buoyant address to young readers offers an earnest insight: “If you just focus on the thing that is making / you sad, then the sadness is all you see. / But if you look around, you will / see that joy is everywhere.” López expands the simply delivered proposal in fresh and lyrical ways—beginning with paired scenes of the authors as solitary children growing up in very different circumstances on (as they put it) “opposite sides of the world,” then meeting as young friends bonded by streams of rainbow bunting and going on to share their exuberantly hued joy with a group of dancers diverse in terms of age, race, culture, and locale while urging readers to do the same. Though on the whole this comes off as a bit bland (the banter and hilarity that characterized the authors’ recorded interchanges are absent here) and their advice just to look away from the sad things may seem facile in view of what too many children are inescapably faced with, still, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the world more qualified to deliver such a message than these two. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48423-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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