Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers

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Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers (illustrated by Shawn Harris; Chronicle Books, 2017) is a second-person picture book about the Statue of Liberty. As the title indicates, it focuses on the right foot of the statue, a foot that shows motion! As a whole, the book tells the history of the sculpture, from the idea for the statue, to the modeling and building of it in France, to the installation in New York. It also has a strong echo of the words from Emma Lazarus and the meaning this statue and those words have for America.

The fact that the author speaks directly to “you,” the reader, gives it a humorous tone. Dave Eggers adds unimportant side facts such as these: “Usually he was wearing a sturdy black hat, for he, like most Europeans men of the time, favored sturdy black hats.” It makes the book not just readable but funny! It draws us in. Further, he gives facts about the statue without being boring too, with questions like “Did you know … ?” He asks us to observe and answer him with our comments.

The central point of Eggers’ picture book is in the emphasis on Lady Liberty’s right foot, which shows her in motion. He proposes that liberty and freedom are words that require action. Since the Statue of Liberty is the representation of American liberty, her action is a message to all of us. Eggers reminds us that immigrants should always be free, for “after all, the Statue of Liberty is an immigrant, too” and welcoming others “cannot end.”

As you see, Her Right Foot actually has a political message about immigration and welcoming others in. Sure there is an overwhelming immigration problem right now, but that is a discussion for another time. Personally, I love the emphasis in this particular book on welcoming. I love the patriotism, the mix of historical facts with humor, and ultimately the interpretation of Lady Liberty’s movement, for immigration is the reason we have a nation filled with diversity today.

Reviewed on July 8, 2024

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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