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Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...

Who wrote these words? And why?

In 1883, Emma Lazarus, deeply moved by an influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe, wrote a sonnet that was to give voice to the Statue of Liberty. Originally a gift from France to celebrate our shared national struggles for liberty, the Statue, thanks to Emma's poem, slowly came to shape our hearts, defining us as a nation that welcomes and gives refuge to those who come to our shores.

For more true stories of pioneering girls and women, visit A Mighty Girl's Biography section.

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"Growing up in a wealthy Jewish American family in the late nineteenth century, Emma Lazarus “only knew people / who had plenty of everything.” But in New York’s harbor, she saw impoverished new immigrants, tired and hungry, sad and sick, many having fled persecution, and she defied both the prevailing view that women should keep quiet and the widespread prejudice that immigrants would “ruin the country.” The art and words are moving in this picture book, which pairs free verse with detailed, full-page paintings in watercolor, ink, and gouache to tell the history behind Lazarus’ famous inscription on the Statue of Liberty." -- Booklist

Product Details

Recommended Age 5 - 9
Author Linda Glaser
Illustrator Claire A. Nivola
ISBN 0547171846
Publication Date Apr 5, 2010
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Award Winners Jane Addams Award
Language English