Saving Lady Liberty
Joseph Pulitzer’s Fight for the Statue of Liberty
By Claudia Friddell
Illustrated by Stacy Innerst
Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills & Kane
Here is the story of how the Statue of Liberty got its pedestal when Joseph Pulitzer, a Jewish immigrant and famous newsman, created one of the first American crowdfunding campaigns to raise money for it.
When Joseph Pulitzer first saw the Statue of Liberty’s head in Paris, he shared sculptor Auguste Bartholdi’s dream of seeing France’s gift of friendship stand in the New York harbor. Pulitzer loved words, and the word he loved best was liberty. Frustrated that many, especially wealthy New Yorkers, were not interested in paying for the statue’s needed pedestal, Pulitzer used his newspaper, the New York World, to call on all Americans to contribute. Claudia Friddell’s text and Stacy Innerst’s illustrations capture this inspiring story of how one immigrant brought together young and old, rich and poor, to raise funds for the completion of a treasured national monument.
Extensive Backmatter with afterword, fun facts about Lady Liberty and Joseph Pulitzer, quotations, photographs, timelines, and sources
Check out this link if you’d like to hear my interview along with my fabulous illustrator for Saving Lady Liberty, Stacy Innerst. It was a real treat to be interviewed by my editor, Carolyn Yoder, as Stacy and I shared researching, writing, and illustrating nuggets with New York City school librarians.
Saving Lady Liberty Awards
- 2020 JLG Selection
- 2021 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
“In this soaring account, which spans Pulitzer’s birth in Hungary to Lady Liberty’s debut in 1886, the author highlights both Pulitzer’s rags-to-riches personal success story and his profound idealism: he ‘had always loved words. And the word he loved best was liberty.’ Innerst adds to the high tone of this celebration with impressionistically brushed scenes of Lady Liberty’s grand features, her frail-looking champion bouncing back from multiple reverses, and ordinary people pitching in coins and small bills to see the iconic statue raised at last. Though histories of the Statue of Liberty often mention Pulitzer’s campaign, this is the most detailed presentation for younger audiences to date. Just another immigrant getting the job done.” —Booklist, starred review
“A poor Jewish immigrant who understood what liberty meant crusaded for Lady Liberty’s pedestal. This is a well-written, inspiring ode to the contributions of immigrants. Pulitzer quotes and excerpts from some of his editorials are included; particularly wonderful are replicas of some handwritten letters from children who donated, literally, pennies. Atmospheric illustrations in brown and blue brushed on sepia-toned backgrounds give a historical feel… excellent information about Pulitzer and the Statue of Liberty… appears in the backmatter. Pulitzer’s permanent legacy now beams a beckoning welcome to all American newcomers—a timely reminder.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This nonfiction picture book sheds light on Joseph Pulitzer’s connection to Lady Liberty and his role in bringing the American icon to the United States. Young readers will particularly enjoy reproductions of donation letters from kids, pledging money to support the cause. Innerst uses watercolor and acrylic paint, with some ink drawings. Back matter includes fun facts about the Statue of Liberty and Pulitzer, a bibliography, an afterword, a time line, and photos of the statue during its construction and inauguration. (T)his [biography] is a good jumping-off point for discussions of civic responsibility and philanthropy.” —School Library Journal
“Friddell… [focuses] on New York World newspaper owner Joseph Pulitzer’s rags to riches backstory as a poor Hungarian immigrant who fought for the Union in the Civil War, worked odd jobs before his break into journalism, and used his public influence to cajole Americans into supporting Frederic Bartholdi’s monumental beacon. Innerst’s mixed media artwork, rendered in tan and sepia evocative of an era antedating color news coverage, have an airy, slightly hazy lightness that contrasts well with the weight of Liberty’s component copper parts scattered throughout scenes, awaiting their ultimate reassembly. Nine pages of end matter…could pivot a recreational read into a middle-grade research project.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Both the conception and the execution of this wonderful book are exceptional…Claudia Friddell and Stacy Innerst have elevated this important message for young readers into a profoundly original work of art.” —Jewish Book Council