Illustrated by Matt Tavares, Candlewick Press.

Rappaport tells the story of how this statue and symbol came into being through the voices of those who worked tirelessly for twenty years to make her a reality.


  • Blue Ribbon List, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
  • CCBC  Choices, Best of the Year
  • Librarians Choices Selection, Booklist
  • New Mexico Battle of the Books
  • Notable Trade books, NCSS
  • 100 Best of the Year, Capital Choices
  • Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award
  • Parents’ Choice Gold Award
  • Teachers’ Choices, IRA
  • Texas Bluebonnet List
  • Readers Choice Award List
  • Indiana Young Hoosier Masterlist



“Tributes to the Statue of Liberty abound, but this one stands out for its unusual approach and powerful illustrations. Rappaport traces the statue’s history in a series of stately free-verse poems in the voices of those who became involved in its creation. This adds up to a stirring reminder of what Lady Liberty stands for.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The book’s unique structure enables Rappaport to pack a wealth of background and detail into the text in an interesting, engaging way. Tavares’s evocative paintings bring each perspective to life. A beautiful, innovative volume.”  School Library Journal, starred review

“The accounts, arranged chronologically, together convey a vivid sense of the ingenuity, politics, and hardships involved in making the statue a reality. Rappaport writes with clear passion for her subject.” The Horn Book, starred review

“In Matt Tavares, Rappaport has been matched with a wonderfully sympathetic illustrator. Where she gives the reader a first-person description of Lady Liberty’s making, Tavares creates images with pageant-like grandeur.”  The New York Times, starred review

From the Author’s Note

“New York City, Today…”

My grandfather left his home in Latvia more than a hundred years ago. He came to America to build a better life.  He was on a ship packed with people from many different countries, speaking languages he did not understand. He slept in steerage with others who had no money, longing for fresh air.

Then, early one morning shouts of “The Lady! The Lady” awakened him. He raced up to the deck. The ship was pulling into New York and there was Lady Liberty greeting them all…

“She will rise on an island in New York’s harbor,

welcoming everyone to America.”


From the Illustrator’s Note

When I first read Doreen Rappaport’s manuscript, I was fascinated by the step-by-step process of how Lady Liberty grew from a four-foot clay model in Bartholdi’s Paris studio into an enormous 151-foot copper colossus atop an 89-foot granite pedestal in New York Harbor. I was, and still am, amazed at the craftsmanship, skill, and collaboration involved in creating such a gigantic statue.

inside page – click to enlarge


“Behind the Scenes with Illustrator Matt Tavares”

A short video about the making of Lady Liberty: A Biography, Tavaresbooks, January 8, 2012

To celebrate the Statue’s 125th birthday year on October 28, 2011,
young visitors created birthday cards for her.

Learn More

Study Guides
Candlewick extended guide on Lady Liberty
Doreen’s Study Guides

Kids Connect

Statue Of Liberty – National Monument, New York
The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World
was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. It was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.

Ellis Island – National Monument, NJ, NY
Part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, it was opened to the public as a museum of immigration in 1990.


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