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Review: Her Right Foot written by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris

Reviewed by Nick Kleese

herrightfootcoverHer Right Foot begins where you’d expect an expository text about the Statue of Liberty to begin—a history of her origins abroad and journey to America. All is straightforward until halfway through the text when the narrator wonders why Lady Liberty’s right foot is raised. “Where is she going?” the narrator wonders. “Is she going to Trenton, New Jersey? To buy a panini?” The answer, as we discover, is nothing short of profound.

 

The power in this pro-immigration text is due in part to the simplicity of the question. On a first read, it seems similar in tone to the other innocent inquiries and observations included throughout the book. However, as the narrator suggests answers to the question, Eggers transitions from his comically naive voice to a rhetorically rich argument that brought me to tears. Her Right Foot demonstrates that children’s nonfiction can blend both informational and persuasive genres, using facts to make a case that, perhaps, Lady Liberty is “not content to wait.” First-time illustrator Shawn Harris’ delightful cut-outs add weight and joy to the written political commentary.

downloadArtwork by Shawn Harris, 2017

Resources:

WBUR Interview with Dave Eggers on the inspiration for Her Right Foot

Teaching guide for Her Right Foot from Chronicle Books


Nick Kleese is a PhD student in Literacy Education who can never get any reading done when his cats are awake.

 

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