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

Last updated Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Author: Linda Glaser
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0547171846
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2013

Synopsis: 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. (Amazon.com)

Note to readers:
•  The entire poem, The New Colossus, is on the last page under Author's Note.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Where is the Statue of Liberty?
•  When did this story take place?
•  What are the people looking at on the cover? What do you think they are thinking?

•  immigrant - a person who leaves one country to live permanently in another country
•  mingle - to become mixed or united with; to interact with
•  liberty - freedom
•  erected - raised to an upright condition.
•  pedestal - An architectural support or base, as for a column or statue
•  engraved on a plaque - carved, cut, or etched into a flat plate for a monument
•  huddled masses - a large crowd that is closely packed together
•  recite - repeat aloud from memory
•  yearning - to wish for
•  wretched refuse - the miserable, poor people; considered worthless
•  teeming shore - crowded, overflowing land by the sea

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How did Emma help immigrants?
•  Why did many people not care about the immigrants?
•  What country constructed the statue as a gift to the U.S.?
•  Who raised money to build the large pedestal for statue?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a crown like the one on the statue.
•  Method 1: Volunteers can cut a star pattern in the center of a paper plate, leaving the outer brim to fit around the crown of the head. Have the kids color their crown green, silver, or gold.
•  Method 2: Cut paper plate in half, then continue to cut 8 wedges. Cut the center of another plate and cut out a piece to make the headband. Staple or glue wedges to the crown. (http://www.thecraftyclassroom.com/CraftAmericanStatueofLiberty.html)

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!