Lib­er­ty on 23rd Street

Jacque­line B. Glasthal; Alan Rein­gold, illus.
  • Review
By – May 14, 2012

Emma Kagen is a Jew­ish girl, grow­ing up in New York City in 1885. Emma is hired by a local hab­er­dash­ery to deliv­er a hat to a depart­ment store across town. Despite a few set­backs along the way, she estab­lish­es a friend­ship with a home­less African Amer­i­can boy named Ambrose. Emma is also inter­est­ed in the city’s fundrais­ing for a pedestal for the Stat­ue of Lib­er­ty — an effort in which she and Ambrose become unex­pect­ed­ly involved. Emma is an appeal­ing char­ac­ter who comes across as a real girl, not unre­al­is­ti­cal­ly hero­ic, but strong, capa­ble, and like­able. The descrip­tions of the city are vivid and compelling. 

With­out being preachy, Lib­er­ty on 23rd Street offers a his­to­ry les­son about New York City, the Stat­ue of Lib­er­ty, as well as the strug­gle of African Amer­i­cans dur­ing this time peri­od. Lib­er­ty on 23rd Street has the fla­vor and appeal of an Amer­i­can Girl book, and is a worth­while read for both Jew­ish and non-Jew­ish read­ers. For ages 8 – 12

Bar­bara Bietz is a free­lance writer and children’s book review­er. She is cur­rent­ly a mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee. Bar­bara is the author of the mid­dle grade book, Like a Mac­cabee. She has a blog ded­i­cat­ed to Jew­ish books for chil­dren at www​.Bar​baraB​Book​Blog​.Blogspot​.com.

Discussion Questions