Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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9781609809171

Adapted by Rebecca Stefoff

Weaving together the behind-the-scenes history of the Eiffel Tower with an account of the 1889 World's Fair in Paris for which the tower was built, Jonnes creates a vivid, lively pageant of people and cultures meeting—and competing.

The book opens a window into a piece of the past that, in its passions and politics, feels timelessly modern: art, science, business, entertainment, gossip, royalty, and national pride mingle in an unforgettable portrait of a unique moment in history, when Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley became the toasts of Paris and Gustave Eiffel, builder of the tower, rose to the pinnacle of fame, only to suffer a tragic fall from grace. 

Above all, the 1889 World's Fair revolved around two nations, whose potent symbols were the twin poles of the fair. France, with its long history of sophistication and cultivation, and with a new republican government eager for the country to take its place at the forefront of the modern world, presented the Eiffel Tower—the world's tallest structure--as a symbol of national pride and engineering superiority. The United States, with its brash, can-do spirit, full of pride in its frontier and its ingenuity, presented the rollicking Wild West show of Buffalo Bill Cody and the marvelous new phonograph of Thomas Edison. 

Eiffel, Cody, Oakley, and Edison are just a few of the characters who populate Jonnes's dramatic history. There are also squabbling artists, a notorious newspaperman, and a generous sprinkling of royalty from around the world. Some of them emerged from the World's Fair of 1889 winners, some losers, but neither they nor any among the vast crowds who attended the fair ever forgot it. The drama, color, and personalities that made the adult book so fascinating and critically acclaimed, are all here in spades as adapted for middle grade and above by Rebecca Stefoff.

Check out our Eiffel's Tower for Young People Teaching Guide here.

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9781609809171

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“Fascinating ... Stuffed with information, drama and story, it will definitely appeal to young adults and yet be accessible to most secondary school pupils. The only difficulty will be prying it out of the hands of any nearby grown-ups.”

“Praise for Eiffel's Tower (adult edition): "In splendid detail, Jonnes examines the importance of the tower in its own historical moment."”

“With flair and marvelously descriptive, 'you-are-there' prose, Jonnes gives Eiffel's Tower the immediacy that only a talented writer can bestow on history.”

“Jonnes re-creates deliciously the Belle Epoque.”

blog — September 17

Teach A People's History

 
Who needs Trump's 1776 Commission? Certainly not us. Kids deserve more than nationalist propaganda. They deserve to learn a complete history of the United States of the people and for the people. And we can help.

 
To teach a people’s history is to consider the historical perspective of the marginalized and the oppressed. It is to acknowledge the historical impact of people from all backgrounds; to share the groundbreaking cultural and political contributions of everyday people, not just the stories promoted by (and beneficial to) those in power. When we teach history from this perspective, we can uncover a better understanding of how our present came to be. By sharing these stories, we equip children with the foundation needed to make lasting, meaningful change in our society –– for the good of all of us.

Young people have been making important contributions to history for centuries. To take a few examples from Howard Zinn's A Young People's History of the United States: There's Anyokah, the child who helped bring written language to her Cherokee people. There are the young laborers who—to the benefit of their peers toiling in cotton mills, canneries, and mines—stood up for themselves with the National Child Labor Committee's Declaration of Dependence. And there's John Tinker, the high school student who fought all the way to the Supreme Court for freedom of expression at school—and won. Our mission with the For Young People series is not to talk down to the young, but to make accessible versions of some of the best books around, and thereby giving young people the facts and inspiration they may need in order to lift their voices up.

For more teaching resources, visit:

Zinn Education Project

Teaching for Change

Free Teaching Guides, Lesson Plans, & Other Resources

A Young People's History of the United States Lesson Plan

1493 for Young People: From Columbus's Voyage to Globalization

A Different Mirror for Young People Teaching Guide

Eiffel's Tower for Young People Teaching Guide

A Road Map to Howard Zinn's Writings Published by Seven Stories Press

Ink Knows No Borders Teaching Guide

Martha and the Slave Catchers Teaching Guide 

  

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Jill Jonnes, who holds a Ph.D. in American history from Johns Hopkins University, is the author of Eiffel's Tower, Conquering Gotham, Empires of Light, and South Bronx Rising. Founder of the nonprofit Baltimore Tree Trust, she is leading the Baltimore City Forestry Board's new initiative, Baltimore's Flowering Tree Trails. As a staff member of the 2010 Presidential National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, she wrote the first chapter of the report Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling. In the fall of 2011, she was a scholar studying Trees as Green Infrastructure at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. Jonnes was also named a National Endowment for the Humanities scholar and has received several grants from the Ford Foundation.