Heavy Medal Finalist – Her Right Foot
Short List Title: HER RIGHT FOOT
(Titles on our short list will be included in the live Mock Newbery in Oakland.)
In Steven’s previous post about this short listed title “The Message of Ms Liberty’s Foot,” the many strengths of this informative and inspirational picture book were mentioned. I want to especially echo Steven’s assessment that this book offers “a persuasive argument with a distinct point of view” and not just fun facts with a whimsical tone. Although that light, conversational, and sometimes irreverent, tone is definitely one of its distinguishing features.
Lines like these lend themselves to delicious read-aloud moments: “to impress and enthrall these French writers, who, being difficult to impress and enthrall, were at least mildly amused,” and “how is it that we have seen and noticed a 450,000-pound human on her way somewhere and said, Eh. Just another 150-foot woman walking off a 150-foot pedestal?”
And the final third of the book, after the readers have become well informed of the Statue’s history and facts, builds momentum, gently at first, but turns more and more urgent as readers flip the pages and are confronted with these questions: “where is she going?”; “Why is she moving?” “What does this mean that we often forget about this right foot, this right leg?”
Finally – the author offers his idea, theory, and reminder in the crescendo passages at the end. And that final sentence, oh my. “She must meet them in the sea.” Simply powerful.
This, my friends, is effective writing. And I must agree with those who have nominated and endorsed this book that Her Right Foot is distinguished and must be considered for the Heavy Medal Mock Newbery seriously.
Filed under: Book Discussion
About Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Roxanne Hsu Feldman is the Middle School (4th to 8th grade) Librarian at the Dalton School in New York City. She served on the 2002 and 2013 Newbery Committees. Roxanne was also a member of 2008-2009 Notable Books for Children, 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults, and the 2017 Odyssey Award Committees. In 2016 Roxanne was one of the three judges for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards. You can reach her at at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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