LIBERTY

This is a comprehensive, fact-filled, and stunningly illustrated history of the Statue of Liberty. It begins with an explanation of why the French came up with the idea in the first place, and how the brilliant young sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi became interested in the project that was to be his obsession for the next 15 years. Bartholdi decided where the statue must stand as soon as he laid eyes on what is now Liberty Island. “Here . . . my statue must rise; here where people get their first view of the New World.” A brief description of neoclassicism is followed by the history of the statue’s construction and the engineering feats it required. The statue was constructed in separate stages and, after the head was built, it was exhibited in the Paris Universal Exposition of 1878. The head was pulled through the streets of Paris in a cart pulled by 13 horses (the double-page spread of Liberty’s head crossing a bridge in Paris is alone worth the price of the book). There are hardly any women mentioned or pictured in the book, and Curlee addresses this by pointing out the irony that the statue exemplifying the spirit of liberty was erected at a time when women didn’t even have the right to vote. Acrylic paintings reproduced in full color from photographic transparencies are the artistic medium, and the appealing, interesting palette of blues, blacks, and bronzes captures the ambition and majesty of the project. While the text is occasionally pompous, and perhaps not as much fun as the Betsy and Guilio Maestro book on the same subject, Liberty is an engaging and useful resource for the classroom and library. (specifications, timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82823-3

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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Nellie Bly’s contemporary namesake does her proud.

THE NEWSPAPER CLUB

From the Newspaper Club series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Nellie’s investigative reporting leads her to solve a mystery, start a newspaper, and learn key lessons about growing up.

Nellie’s voice is frank and often funny—and always full of information about newspapers. She tells readers of the first meeting of her newspaper club and then says, “But maybe I’m burying the lede…what Dad calls it when a reporter puts the most interesting part…in the middle or toward the end.” (This and other journalism vocabulary is formally defined in a closing glossary.) She backtracks to earlier that summer, when she and her mother were newly moved into a house next to her mother’s best friend in rural Bear Creek, Maine. Nellie explains that the newspaper that employed both of her parents in “the city” had folded soon after her father left for business in Asia. When Bear Creek Park gets closed due to mysterious, petty crimes, Nellie feels compelled to investigate. She feels closest to her dad when on the park’s swings, and she is more comfortable interviewing adults than befriending peers. Getting to know a plethora of characters through Nellie’s eyes is as much fun as watching Nellie blossom. Although astute readers will have guessed the park’s vandalizers, they are rewarded by observing Nellie’s fact-checking process. A late revelation about Nellie’s father does not significantly detract from this fully realized story of a young girl adjusting admirably to new circumstances. Nellie and her mother present white; secondary characters are diverse.

Nellie Bly’s contemporary namesake does her proud. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-9685-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Running Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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90 MILES TO HAVANA

After Castro’s takeover, nine-year-old Julian and his older brothers are sent away by their fearful parents via “Operation Pedro Pan” to a camp in Miami for Cuban-exile children. Here he discovers that a ruthless bully has essentially been put in charge. Julian is quicker-witted than his brothers or anyone else ever imagined, though, and with his inherent smarts, developing maturity and the help of child and adult friends, he learns to navigate the dynamics of the camp and surroundings and grows from the former baby of the family to independence and self-confidence. A daring rescue mission at the end of the novel will have readers rooting for Julian even as it opens his family’s eyes to his courage and resourcefulness. This autobiographical novel is a well-meaning, fast-paced and often exciting read, though at times the writing feels choppy. It will introduce readers to a not-so-distant period whose echoes are still felt today and inspire admiration for young people who had to be brave despite frightening and lonely odds. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

 

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59643-168-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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