Saturday, September 8, 2018

Kid Konnection: Eliza

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week I'm going to share with you a soon-to-be-released picture book about Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton.

Summary: For fans of the musical Hamilton, here is a stunning picture book biography about Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s extraordinary wife and an important figure in her own right.

We all know the story of scrappy Alexander Hamilton and his rise in American politics–but how much do we know about his workmate, inspiration, and stabilizing force, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton? Margaret McNamara employs the letter-writing style of the period to tell the story of Eliza Hamilton, who was born into a family of considerable wealth, power, and influence in Albany, New York, in 1757. Eliza was expected to marry into a similarly powerful family . . . until she met and fell in love with the charismatic Hamilton. She stood by him throughout his tumultuous life, and after his death, she single-handedly collected his papers and preserved them for historians and musical-theater writers of the future. Eliza outlived Hamilton by fifty years; during that time she founded the first orphanage in New York State, raised funds for the Washington Monument, and kept the flame of her husband’s memory and achievements alive. Featuring Esme Shapiro’s exquisite, thoroughly researched art, which mirrors paintings from 18th-century America, this is a beautiful and informative biography with extensive back matter. -- Schwartz & Wade

ELIZA: THE STORY OF ELIZABETH SCHUYLER HAMILTON isn't available until October 2nd, but I loved this book so much that I didn't want to wait to share with you! ELIZA is a picture book biography about Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton with words by Margaret McNamara and artwork by Esme Shapiro, and it's very special. I knew next to nothing about Eliza Hamilton, and I found this book to be extremely interesting. In fact, it piqued my interest so much that I want to read some more about this fascinating woman.

ELIZA was married to Alexander Hamilton and is only now getting the credit and fame she deserves. This picture book is written as a letter from Eliza to her unborn grand-daughter, and it details the major highlights of her life. She begins the letter with her birth to a wealthy family and then follows the story through her childhood and her marriage to Hamilton. She even shares some of the major things she contributed to our society after her husband's death. (She ended up outliving him by 50 years!)

Since I really knew very little about Eliza Hamilton, I was stunned to learn that she was the one responsible for keeping all of her husband's letters for future generations. She also raised money for the building of the Washington Monument as well as finding the first orphanage in the state of New York. She even met with all fourteen presidents. Eliza Hamilton sounds like she was one strong and amazing woman!

As much as I enjoyed this story in ELIZA, I also loved the artwork. The illustrator, Esme Shapiro, tried to make the pictures look like 18th-century paintings. How cool is that? These gorgeous illustrations really contributed to the overall "feel" of the book.

The picture book includes an afterword from Phillipa Soo, the original Eliza in the Broadway musical Hamilton: An American Musical, where she describes how she researched her famous role. It also has some additional details about Eliza's life that fill in some of the information provided in this picture book.

ELIZA is a terrific picture book that kids, especially fans of Hamilton, will love. Highly recommended for both classroom and home libraries!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

I'm so glad to see women and people of color finally getting recognition for the things they did. This book looks delightful!

Dorothy N said...

This looks like a really terrific book. Eliza Hamilton had a fascinating life and she was able to accomplish so much. I am really looking forward to seeing this book in person as the illustrations look beautiful. Thanks for bringing this book to our attention with another great review!

Stacie said...

What a great idea to showcase Eliza and her accomplishments for younger children to learn about.