Her Right Foot

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Her Right Foot Book Poster Image
Inspiring, fresh take on the welcoming Statue of Liberty.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Lots of history and fun facts about the Statue of Liberty: when and where it was built and by whom, its dimensions, that it was brown for 35 years before its copper skin turned green, that the interior was designed by the man who later designed the Eiffel Tower, the many countries immigrants have come from, and much more. Some areas in and around New York pictured, including SoHo, the West Village, and Trenton, New Jersey. 

Positive Messages

The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom. "Liberty and freedom from oppression are not things you get from standing around like some kind of statue. No! These are things that require action. Courage. An unwillingness to rest."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Frenchman Edouard de Laboulaye was generous when he decided to celebrate 100 years of the United States and give the country a giant sculpture. "The Statue of Liberty is an immigrant, too." Frederic Auguste Bertholdi designed it. Millions of hopeful immigrants from around the world have come to the United States yearning to be free. 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Her Right Foot, by author and publisher Dave Eggers, calls attention to the Statue of Liberty and how its very design signifies a reaching out to visitors and immigrants as Lady Liberty steps forward to greet them as they enter New York Harbor. It's an artful conversation starter with lively, witty, lighthearted yet meaningful text that can get kids thinking about America's tradition of welcoming people from foreign lands who come here to find freedom and make a new life.

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What's the story?

Dave Eggers digs into the welcoming nature of the Statue of Liberty by focusing on HER RIGHT FOOT. She's always been seen as a beacon for people who come to America "yearning to breathe free." But Eggers as the unseen narrator speaking directly to the reader points out that many people haven't noticed that she's not just standing there with her torch. She's actually stepping toward the harbor, seemingly walking out to sea to greet the incoming immigrants and visitors. In addition to this fresh perspective, the book is filled with fun facts about the statue, the sculptor who created it, and where it came from. 
 

Is it any good?

At a time when anti-immigrant sentiments and policies are being hotly debated, this upbeat, funny, artistically stunning book about the Statue of Liberty couldn't be more timely. Her Right Foot teaches kids lots of history and facts about the statue, but most important, it underscores the statue's meaning by spotlighting the design detail of Lady Liberty's leg and foot in motion. She is "on the move" to greet the immigrants and visitors coming to America.

This beautifully designed book, with exquisite mixed-media illustrations by Shawn Harris, provides a wonderful, openhearted, kid-friendly introduction to the issue of immigration. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the author's take on the Statue of Liberty in Her Right Foot. Does the idea that she's stepping toward the harbor to greet immigrants change what you thought about it before? 

  • What do you think the Statue of Liberty means to people who come to the United States from other countries? 

  • Does learning about the statue make you want to see it for yourself sometime? 

Book details

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