|Jacob Riis's camera : bringing light to tenement children|
Author: O'Neill, Alexis
A biography of pioneering photojournalist and social reformer Jacob Riis of New York City in the late 1800s who sought to improve the living conditions of the poor.
Kirkus Reviews (03/01/20)
School Library Journal (05/01/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/06/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/15/2020 When 12-year-old Jacob Riis earned extra money in his Denmark town, he donated it to the poor. Twenty-one-year-old Jacob carried this disposition with him when he arrived in New York City in 1870 and discovered how hard it was for immigrants to find and keep jobs. In this picture-book biography, O’Neill’s vivid narration and Kelley’s aptly dark-hued illustrations combine to introduce readers to this early social justice advocate. After being homeless himself, Riis landed a break as a newspaper reporter and eventually became a police reporter for the New York Tribune. He used this opportunity to write 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 these 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. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
Booklist - 03/15/2020 - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2020 Gr 3–5—Jacob Riis (1849–1914) was a child in Ribe, Denmark when he decided to help others who were less fortunate. Riis donated extra money he had earned to the residents of "Rag Hall," a local "rat-infested, ramshackle" tenement house. When he was 21, Riis immigrated to the United States. As an immigrant in 19th-century New York, he learned firsthand how hard life was for the city's poor. Determined to help, he became a crime reporter and eventually a documentary photographer, writing books and lecturing to encourage change with his powerful images of tenement dwellers. Kelley's atmospheric illustrations portray the dark and dirty tenements of Riis's work while still balancing light and warmth. O'Neill's text is thorough and informative, but often dense and difficult for the target age range. Overall, the author skillfully creates a fascinating biography of a man who contributed significantly to social reform. Extensive sources include detailed further reading, a glossary, sources, websites, books, and videos. VERDICT A nice addition to biography collections. For a biography about a photographer, more actual photos from Riis would have been helpful.—Savannah Kitchens, Parnell Memorial Library, Montevallo, AL - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.