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Jacob Riis's Camera by Alexis O'Neill

Jacob Riis’s Camera

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Jacob Riis's Camera by Alexis O'Neill
Hardcover $18.99
Mar 18, 2020 | ISBN 9781629798660

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  • Hardcover $18.99
    $18.99

    Mar 18, 2020 | ISBN 9781629798660 | 7-10 years

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Praise

“In 1870, Danish-born Jacob Riis immigrated to the United States, where… he witnessed the horrendous living conditions of New York City’s poorest immigrants. (H)e took photographs and gave lectures accompanied by life-size reproductions of those photos to any group that would listen. O’Neill… presents his biography in clear, direct language that conveys the facts of his life along with the essence of his nature. Kelley’s ink-and-pastel illustrations in muted tones capture the gray dreariness of the scenes as well as dark shadows of interpretations of the photos. A thoughtful, well-researched homage to an almost forgotten hero.” —Kirkus Reviews

“In this picture-book biography, O’Neill’s vivid narration and Kelley’s aptly dark-hued illustrations combine to introduce readers to (Jacob Riis, a) social justice advocate. Riis…(wrote) about the poverty immigrants faced and the harsh living conditions in the city’s tenement buildings. His writing made little difference, however, until he also captured the truth with photography. O’Neill highlights the positive impact his images made, including on a young Teddy Roosevelt, who used his power to make changes. An author’s note, a time line, annotated examples of Riis’ photos, and other back matter provide a broader perspective of Riis’ accomplishments and the power of media to transform lives.” —Booklist 

“The compelling activism of Jacob Riis animates this beautifully illustrated picture book biography. O’Neill pulls Riis’s life as a U.S. immigrant from Denmark into sharp focus, using vignettes to demonstrate how his experiences amplified his activism. Riis was outraged by the state of New York City’s tenements and slums but was unable to effect change until he hit upon the idea of using flash photography to capture images of the decrepit buildings and their occupants. Kelley’s expressive illustrations, created using etching ink and pastel, mix human touch and snapshot sensibility, and give a nod to Riis’s photos.” Publishers Weekly 

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