Her Right Foot

by Dave Eggers (Author) Shawn Harris (Illustrator)

Her Right Foot
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
"A friendly reminder of how America can be at its best." - Entertainment Weekly

If you had to name a statue, any statue, odds are good you'd mention the Statue of Liberty.

Have you seen her?

She's in New York.
She's holding a torch.
And she's in mid-stride, moving forward.
But why?

In this fascinating and fun take on nonfiction for kids, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America's most emblematic statue. What they find is about more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty's right foot is the powerful message of acceptance that is essential of an entire country's creation.

An ideal patriotic gift for kids, this book as received accolades from a number of reputable publications:

A Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year
A School Library Journal Best Picture Book of the Year
A 2018 Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book
A Junior Library Guild selection

Seven Starred Reviews

"In a time when immigration is a hot-button issue, it's good to be reminded that Lady Liberty continues to lift her lamp beside the golden door." - Booklist, starred review

"Thought-provoking." - Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"A timely immigrant's tale." - Shelf Awareness, starred review

"Crucial." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Heartfelt throughout and indisputable timely." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Unique and important." - School Library Journal, starred review

"Vital." - School Library Connection, starred review

"As enlightening as it is charming." - The New York Times

"Witty, moving." - The Wall Street Journal
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School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 3 Up--This beautifully designed and conversational yet sophisticated book about the history of the iconic statue is also filled with humor and interesting trivia. Explanations of the construction, size, and eventual color of the statue are explained and illustrated in simple, accessible terms. While the first two-thirds of the book offer information about the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the green giant, the final portion is a more editorialized, poetic discussion of the back of her right foot. "She is going somewhere! She is on the move!...she weighs 450,000 pounds, and she is moving...where is she going?" Apparently not to "Soho to get a panini" nor "to the West Village to look for vintage Nico records." No, this welcoming lady has loftier goals. Though she has already greeted thousands of Poles, Norwegians, Cambodians, Estonians, Somalis, Syrians, and others, "It never ends. It cannot end. And this is why she's moving. This is why she's striding. In welcoming the poor, the tired, the struggling to be free. She is not content to wait. She must meet them in the sea." Harris's vibrant impressionistic illustrations, rendered in construction paper collage and india ink, offer thought-provoking, varied perspectives on both the statue and the text. The unpaged tribute is far longer than the usual picture book length of 32 pages, but never wordy. VERDICT A unique and important contribution to be enjoyed by both children and adults; a must-purchase.--Barbara Auerbach, formerly at New York City Public Schools

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

The history of the Statue of Liberty is well-known: Frenchman Edouard de Laboulaye conceived of the idea of a monument for the United States's centennial and persuaded artist Frederic Auguste Bartholdi to design it. Eggers starts his own story of the statue slowly, playfully ("Did you know that the Statue of Liberty comes from France? This is true. This is a factual book"). Newcomer Harris's friendly cut-paper spreads show the colossal statue looming over the men who build it. After detailing Liberty's installation in New York, where it welcomed waves of immigrants, Eggers makes a startling observation: the statue's right foot is raised: "She is on the move!" And why is this? "Liberty and freedom from oppression are not things you get or grant by standing around," Eggers asserts. "These are things that require action. Courage. An unwillingness to rest." Harris represents Americans of all colors--veiled, in hardhats, in yarmulkes, in hoodies--talking together, admiring the statue, becoming citizens. Eggers's crucial and timely re-examination makes Liberty an active participant in a debate that is more contentious than ever. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"I want to hold this book in one hand and a torch in the other and stand on an island someplace so everyone can see." -Lemony Snicket
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Chronicle Books
Publication date
September 20, 2017
BISAC categories
JNF025200 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | United States/19th Century
JNF043000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Social Science | Politics & Government
JNF025260 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | Symbols, Monuments, National Parks, Etc.
Library of Congress categories
United States
Historic sites

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