While sitting in a yurt in Mongolia, having been honored as a woman to be allowed to eat with the men, a friend of mine listened as the group's leader spoke of "famous men of our world." After speaking eloquently (in translation) of a variety of great world leaders (Constantine, Alexander the Great, Genghis Hahn, and Gandhi, to name a few he mentioned) he turned to Mrs. Downey and asked her to speak of the "great leader Abraham Lincoln." One should not be surprised that even to those dwelling in what many would consider a backward region; Abraham Lincoln's name continues to be linked with those of history's most venerated leaders.
Closer to home, his bicentennial year has focused much attention on both Lincoln the politician and Lincoln the man. There are many facets of this influential and awe inspiring personality; a sad and difficult youth, aspirations and ambitions, tragic family experiences, oratory ability, sheer intelligence, and the haunting way the presidency itself ate away at his very being. The examination of such a powerful personage evolves with the flow of history and it is often in retrospect that wide sweeping effects can be observed by historians; but even in Lincoln's own time his relentless determination that "the Union" would not "perish" changed the entire course of The United States of America. In his article for the New York Times (December 12, 2008), Edward Rathstein writes eloquently about Lincoln's belief that the founding fathers had done what they could considering the compromises necessitated to achieve the writing of The Constitution. He describes in passionate language Lincoln's "almost fanatically" resolute position that the Union could not be allowed to devolve. Lincoln balanced with extraordinary skill the need to adhere to the Constitutions while ensuring a Union in which the inherent principles of the founding fathers could be realized—freedom for all men and women.
Anyone who has the opportunity to read and learn about Abraham Lincoln will be inspired by a man who had little formal education (about one year) and yet through his own diligence and passionate determination rose to a such a level of understanding of the principles of the early writers of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution that he could, through his intelligence, knowledge of the law, extraordinary writing ability, and talented oration inspire a foundering nation to become a powerful country—reunited and rededicated to propositions that would take another 200 years to see to fruition in the next stage in the development of The United States of America—an African-American elected to the highest post in the land. Thank you, Mr. Lincoln.
Adults and older YA readers will have many selections from which to choose, including Abraham Lincoln: A Life by Michael Burlingame, (Johns Hopkins University Press), Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster), The Lincoln Anthology: 85 Writers on His Life and Legacy from 1860 Until Now edited by Harold Holzer (Library of America), Our Lincoln: New Perspectives on Lincoln and His World edited by Eric Foner (Norton). Educators, librarians, parents and others who share books with children will also have a wide selection of nonfiction and fiction with which to expand their understanding and appreciation of Abraham Lincoln. More titles can be found at CLCD (www.childrenslit.com). The following websites will also prove useful:
Contributor: Sheilah Egan
200 Years with Abraham Lincoln: One Man's Life and Legacy
Helen Koutras Bozonelis
Why is Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, still remembered as a hero so long after his death? That is the question the author tries to answer for elementary age students, which is no small task to undertake in a series biography with complex political questions to be answered and a troubled subject with an equally troubled wife. Using period photographs, factoids of information on the pages, and a narrative structure, the book teaches readers about Lincoln, his goals, reactions to events around him, and bits of information which serve to complete the picture of this well-regarded leader. There does not seem to be any new information here, but the information is presented in a way that young readers should, for the most part, find easy to read. Chapter titles will allow readers to skim if needed, and the publishers have seen fit to use numbers for the citations, which will make teachers and librarians happy as we strive to make students understand that they must cite their work. Glossary, index, short bibliography of titles, and web addresses are also included. The only thing that does not work particularly well is the design of the pages, which are made to look like old paper and often distort clarity of the typeface. Many readers would not be put off by that, but it seems distracting to be reading text over photographs and on pages where old script is enlarged to resemble documents from the time. 2008, Enslow Publishers, $27.95. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer: Leslie Greaves Radloff (Children's Literature).
Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale (Introducing His Forgotten Frontier Friend)
Illustrated by John Hendrix
Long before he was president, Abe Lincoln was a little boy. This tale introduces Abe and his childhood playmate, Benjamin Austin Gollaher. Abe and Austin get into a bit of trouble when they do not heed the advice of Abe's mother. They try to cross the rushing creek after a heavy rain. Abe slips and falls in but is rescued by his loyal friend. Austin is a forgotten character in U.S. history, but his heroics that day long ago affected us all. The simple actions of a friend matter as much as the grand actions of a president. The author reminds us that we are all important. This entertaining and energetic book invites the reader into history. The characters, including our sixteenth president, are relatable and fun. The illustrations are just as inviting. The reader is encouraged to interact with the book, as we see the drawing hand and tools of the illustrator. The pictures include hazard signs, caution arrows, and speech bubbles with comments from the reader. The author provides great opportunities for the readers to learn about characters, setting, and other important story elements. We are also invited to ask questions of the story and view alternative plot elements. In other words, this is a teacher's read-aloud dream. 2008, Schwartz & Wade Books/Random House Inc, $16.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Ann Farina (Children's Literature).
Abe's Honest Words: the Life of Abraham Lincoln
Illustrated by Gary Kelley
Intertwining a simplified biography of the life and times of Abraham Lincoln with words from his speeches and writings, this book gives an overview of an American president who many believe is the greatest the nation has known. From his early words, which demonstrate his love of books to the legacy of the words of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln's character shines forth through his own words. The author is able to reduce the complexities of the times and the issues of slavery and civil war to the sparse prose of a picture book and the powerful and arresting illustrations further illuminate Lincoln's life. The illustrations are stark and realistic and this realism offers a glimpse at the look of the pre-Civil War and Civil War period of America's past. The book also includes a listing of important dates in Lincoln's life, a bibliography of 10 books about Lincoln for those who wish to read more, some research sources, and the complete text of the Gettysburg Address. 2008, Hyperion Books for Children/Disney Book Group, $16.99. Ages 8 up. Reviewer: Lesley Moore Vossen (Children's Literature).
By taking the reader back in time to that fateful evening of April 14, 1865, this book begins as an adventure that brings to the forefront the life and times of Abraham Lincoln. The reader's next step in this literary adventure is in a log cabin in the woods of Kentucky circa 1809 where Abraham had to walk miles to the nearest schoolhouse. As the adventure continues, the reader learns how Abraham Lincoln developed a love for reading and later earned money performing various jobs as a hired hand on farms. However, since Abraham was always restless--wanting more out of life than back-breaking jobs--he eventually volunteered to help during the Black Hawk War. His leadership experience in the war led to his interest in politics. He first ran for the state legislature in 1832--but was defeated. He learned that he needed to win the love of the people in order to get elected, so he ventured out to meet and greet everybody he could. His love for reading helped him to later pass the bar exam to become a lawyer--self-educated! The reader goes on to learn how Lincoln came to his views on slavery, to re-live his famous debates and speeches and to learn about the legacy he left for all Americans. Written to highlight the most important events during Lincoln's administration as well as to reveal character-building experiences that led to his moral views and leadership abilities, this book is a poignant story with beautiful artwork and photographs, clearly organized and written to capture the minds of all readers. 2009, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, $23.93. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Melissa Stickles (Children's Literature).
This set of biographies is a wonderful collection that can be used to introduce important figures that contributed to the history of the United States. The Spanish version seems to be accurately translated and will be well understood by the very youngest of readers. Each book includes colorful pictures on every page that depict what each figure looked like and reflects the era during which that person lived. Headings at the top of the pages assist in guiding the reader to follow the chronology of the person's history. Teachers introducing the importance of slavery and civil issues will find the books about Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass a great resource. Each title contains a table of contents, illustrated glossary, chronological timeline, and index. This series helps teach students different parts of a nonfiction book and how to use them. [Editor's Note: Series also available in English, First Biographies.] Recommended. 2008, Bellota (Heinemann Library), 24pp. ea., $20.71 ea. hc. Reviewer: Paty Perret Megerle (Library Media Connection, October 2008).
Abraham Lincoln: "this nation shall have a new birth of freedom"
Abraham Lincoln, one of the most respected presidents of the United States, began his term as president by sneaking into Washington, D.C., in the dead of night for fear of assassination. In this revised edition, Judson fills this simple, but well-written biography of the sixteenth president with facts that will interest readers of American history. Lincoln's own words, in many instances, are used to substantiate the content and add a personal take on this story of his life and occurrences during his political career that impacted the entire country. Pictures and illustrations add visual support to the text. Also included are chapter notes, a chronology of Lincoln's life, a brief glossary, a listing of books for further reading, Internet addresses for websites with information about Lincoln, and an index. A title in the "Americans: The Spirit of a Nation" series, this will be a good addition to any library to support research about Abraham Lincoln. 2008, Enslow Publishers, $31.93. Ages 9 to 12. Naomi Williamson (Children's Literature).
Abraham Lincoln: From Pioneer to President
The iconic self-educated man, Abraham Lincoln came from the nation's frontier, where he handled an axe "almost constantly," as he later wrote, from the time he was seven. He was handy with that tool but far more interested in books and learning. In a place where people worked hard and had little time to read, Lincoln made time for both. Once people came to see the widely read yet humble man as a natural leader, he rose quickly in politics, and the rest is, well, history. Young readers may know a bit of this history, but this biography will provide them with an appealingly up-close view of Lincoln, the man. The book does not ignore the larger picture of Lincoln's life and times, but it will win readers over with intimate details such as these: After Lincoln shot a wild turkey as a boy, he felt so bad about it he never hunted again; as an adult, he hated the nickname "Abe"; before signing the Emancipation Proclamation he rested his hand, trembling from hours of shaking hands at a New Year's party, so he would not have a wobbly signature that might make people think he had hesitated to sign. Part of the publisher's "Sterling Biographies" series, the book is chock full of archival artwork and photography as well as colorful quotations from primary sources. The book is pleasing to the eyes and, with its heavy, glossy pages, to the hands. A timeline and glossary are useful additions. 2007, Sterling Publishing, $12.95 and $5.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Debbie Levy (Children's Literature).
Abraham Lincoln Comes Home
Paintings by Wendell Minor
Burleigh sets his historic tale at a dramatic, emotional time. Abraham Lincoln has been assassinated, and Luke and his father are riding in a buggy through the night to meet the funeral train as it passes through town. The father and son join the many people who have lit bonfires and are waiting. As the train approaches, torches are lit. Luke feels the ground tremble. He sees tears on his father's cheeks. The train passes. When it is all over, Luke remembers it all as he falls asleep in the buggy on his father's shoulder. Minor's gouache and watercolor, detailed, naturalistic, double-page paintings in muted colors convey the somber emotions of the occasion. The several views of the funeral train's locomotive with its flags and flowers supply an impressive visual continuity as it appears along the route. The portraits of Luke enhance the solemnity. The end pages reproduce the flags that were encountered along the way. There is a map, copious notes, and additional facts, which help put the story into historic context. 2008, Henry Holt and Company, $16.95. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Abraham Lincoln for Kids: His Life and Times with 21 Activities
While the phrase "for kids" in the titles of these two series books about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln is condescending and a potential put-off to students, the books themselves are of excellent quality, not only in their clear writing styles but also in their formats and depth of information. Each book follows the life of its president from family background to death and is rich in details and character-forming events. There are pictures or sidebars on every page, some reproducing famous period pictures or prints, others providing explanations or definitions appropriate to the material. Each book includes a time-line, a bibliography, and suggestions of places or websites to visit. The "activities" included are fairly interesting. The reader can learn "How to write with a quill pen" in the Washington book and "How to organize a campaign" in Lincoln. Both books give careful coverage to the wars faced by these two presidents and also to their attitudes toward slavery. Once YAs get past the titles, they will find these two books valuable sources of information on the lives of our most famous presidents. Category: Biography, Narrative. KLIATT Codes: JS*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2007, Chicago Review Press, 149p. illus. bibliog. index., $14.95. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Patricia Moore (KLIATT Review, September 2007 (Vol. 41, No. 5)).
Assassin's Accomplice; Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln [Audiobook]
Kate Clifford Larson
Read by Laural Merlington
This is a fascinating part of our history that many may not be aware of. Larson presents a carefully researched and meticulously detailed story that allows the listeners to decide for themselves whether Mary Surratt was guilty of complicity in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. "I am innocent, but God's Holy Will be done": and with these words Surratt went to her death on the gallows. She was the first woman ever executed by the federal government, yet to this day there are still questions concerning her guilt or innocence. True, she was a staunch and outspoken Southern sympathizer, and the boarding house she ran on H Street in Washington, DC became a frequent meeting place for John Wilkes Booth and other Confederate zealots. There, they plotted to kidnap the President, but when this proved impossible, they hatched the plan to kill him. How much Mary Surratt actually knew about their plans and how much she might have participated in them is still unclear. Many felt that Surratt should be spared, not only because she was a woman, but because she had been found guilty by a military tribunal. There was also controversy concerning an appeal for her sentence to be commuted by the new President Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's successor. Johnson claimed to have never seen such an appeal, and he effectively doomed her to death by stating that "she kept the nest that hatched the egg." Merlington reads in a clear, strong and lucid manner, with minimal dramatic voicing. Category: Nonfiction Audiobooks. KLIATT Codes: SA--Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2008, Brilliance Audio, 7 cds. 8 hrs.; Vinyl; content, reader notes., $87.25. Ages 15 to adult. Reviewer: Miles Klein (KLIATT Review, November 2008 (Vol. 42, No. 6)).
Chasing Lincoln's Killer
James L. Swanson
Fine storytelling and compelling writing take the reader through the twelve-day search for Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Swanson sets the stage (no pun intended) by presenting a concise description of the causes and effects of the Civil War. He then begins with Lincoln's second inaugural, recording that Booth was in the audience that day and subsequently remarked to a friend in New York City, "What an excellent chance I had, if I wished, to kill the president on Inauguration Day! I was on the stand, as close to him nearly as I am to you." Readers will ascertain not only how but why Booth changed his mind from kidnapping to killing Lincoln. The plot to kill the President, the Vice-President, and the Secretary of State sent chills down the spine of this reader. There is not much background on the co-conspirators, but Swanson presents some fine details about how the events played out. The photos, maps, and reward posters help the reader gain a sense of the mood of the people of the United States at that time. The author comments on the continuing fascination with John Wilkes Booth. While there are a number of books about him, this deserves a wide readership. 2009, Scholastic Press, Ages 10 to 14, $16.99. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
The Emancipation Proclamation
Dennis Brindell Fradin
Part of the "Turning Points in U.S. History" series, this narrative of the Emancipation Proclamation in seven chapters is appropriate for able middle readers as well as for older students with more limited skills. With its ample format, neat design, and many reproductions of historic photographs (a pensive Lincoln in 1862 is especially moving), paintings, and engravings, this volume will be visually appealing to young historians. Beginning with a brief history of American slavery and ending with the March on Washington in 1963, Fradin explores the consequences of failure to confront the issue of slavery in 1788 when a new constitution was adopted. As the controversy grew, positions hardened between abolitionists and slaveholders, Lincoln was elected President, and civil war broke out. Lincoln, as Fradin explains, was faced with a dilemma when considering abolition: four slave states were adhering to the Union. How could he emancipate their slaves and still retain their loyalty? Emancipation became part of war strategy, the preliminary proclamation released only after the tide of war was turning in the Union's favor. The final proclamation (1863) resulted in the freeing of Confederate slaves and the self-liberation of many more; it remained for Congress to make freedom universal with the Thirteenth Amendment, though the battle against discrimination goes on. Sidebars offer details about the telegraph, famous abolitionists, and the Underground Railroad--the final sidebar reminds readers that slavery still exists in many parts of the world. Included are maps, a glossary, a timeline, and a bibliography for students. 2007, Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, $20.95. Ages 9 to 14. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft (Children's Literature).
Gettysburg: The Graphic Novel
C. M. Butzer
Comic book-like illustrations tell the complete story of the struggle that occurred at Gettysburg in this smart and thought-provoking graphic novel. The illustrations capture the emotion, turmoil, and tragedy that occurred at Gettysburg from June 30 through November 19 of 1863. Butzer concisely and effectively represents key sequences of the battle, the subsequent effort to bury the dead and treat the injured, the act of photographing the body-strewn battlefield, the endeavor to create a national cemetery at Gettysburg, and the ceremony dedicating the cemetery. Much attention is given to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address with phrases from the speech depicted according to history and the author's metaphorical understanding of the text. A section of author's notes at the end of the book offers additional historical information, clarifying details, or quotations from primary sources for each sequence of pictures in the book. Butzer includes a detailed map of the Gettysburg battlefield landmarks and a cast of characters illustrating the important players in the Gettysburg saga. Words are used sparingly in the text, allowing the pictures to be the primary vehicle for moving the story along. The detail in the illustrations and the careful choice of words when used, often similar to actual historical conversations, combine to create a powerful telling of an important story in America's history. Butzer's first graphic novel is a truly valuable resource for the study of Gettysburg, the Civil War, or Abraham Lincoln. 2009, The Bowen Press/Collins/HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 9 to 14, $9.99. Reviewer: Katie DeWald (Children's Literature).
Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
Abraham Lincoln invited a special guest, Frederick Douglass, to the reception following his second inauguration. Both had grown up under difficult circumstances and hated slavery. They had become friends when Lincoln was a member of Congress and the Civil War loomed. Being black, Douglass faced additional pressures. He even had difficulty getting into the reception. In a double foldout Collier dramatically demonstrates the grim war's pallor over the celebration. The conversation between the friends is recreated by Giovanni. Although they see "difficult days ahead," they are not worried. The horror of the subsequent assassination of Lincoln is noted only on the "Time Line." Collier chooses paper collage to create sets of parallel scenes that arise from the lives of the two men. One pair depicts each as an adolescent on a cabin floor involved in gaining literacy. Few details are needed; just a strong light source to illuminate the figures. An imaginative choice of patterned papers creates a bed of river plants. Photographs of forests are integrated into the dramatic scenes of John Brown's struggle. The double foldout of the smoky battle scenes uses cutouts of soldiers applied to the broken landscape. Notes from both author and illustrator add to the understanding of the book. 2008, Henry Holt and Company, $16.95. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Lincoln Through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Shaped an Extraordinary Life
Martin W. Sandler
Abraham Lincoln was one of America's most revered presidents. He was born in a log cabin. Neither of his parents could read nor write. Lincoln attended school for a total of one year. He once walked twenty miles to borrow a book. After studying three years, he became a lawyer and worked with a lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. He married Mary Todd, an educated woman from a well-to-do-family. He was elected to U.S. Congress in 1846. Lincoln was heartsick when he saw slaves in chains. Another heartbreak was when his children died young. Lincoln welcomed having his picture taken and ruffled his hair so it would look as the common man he identified with. He never wore fancy clothes. When Lincoln was elected president, there were threats against his life. He was advised to leave the train, dress like a poor farmer, and go to the capitol. That is the way the sixteenth president entered the capitol--under cover of darkness. Full-page pictures of Lincoln and significant locations face a full page of text. Quotations from Lincoln are included. Lincoln credited photographers for helping shape his destiny. He gave credit to one photograph for "getting him in the White House." Lincoln described himself as "6'4", lean in flesh weighing average 180 pounds, dark complexion, coarse black hair and grey eyes." When John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln, the largest reward ever offered was advertised for finding his murderer. This well-researched, interesting book should be available for all school children to read when they are studying Abraham Lincoln. 2008, Walkers Books for Young Readers, $19.99. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer: Jennie DeGenaro (Children's Literature).
My Brother Abe
Sarah "Sally" Lincoln was born in 1906, married at 19, and died in childbirth at 21. She was also Abraham Lincoln's older sister; yet little else is known about her. Thus, armed with few facts, Mazer begins his story when Sally is 9 and Abe is 7. Their family is so poor they can't afford to send both children to school. Fortunately, Sally teaches Abe to read so well that the school lets him in for free. When not in class, they are busy with chores, but content. Their mother is a loving, well-educated woman; their father, hard-working and undemonstrative. When they lose their Kentucky farm and start over in Indiana, Sally is initially unhappy but soon adjusts, making new friends and helping out. Then, in the fall of 1818, Sally's beloved mother dies, leaving her daughter to mourn alone as father and brother put on brave fronts. A year later, their father hears from an old, recently widowed acquaintance, and decides to propose to her. Having little writing skill, he asks Sally to pen the letter: "I was helping Pa ask a stranger woman to be our mama." Whether it's because, or in spite of, the scant information on Sally, she never emerges as a unique or memorable 3-dimensional character. Given the abundance of Lincoln-related books, you may want to choose another.
BIBLIO: 2009, Simon & Schuster, Ages 8 to 10, $15.99.
REVIEWER: Naomi Milliner
FORMAT: Middle Grade
Two Miserable Presidents: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About The Civil War
Illustrations by Tim Robinson
The title refers to the factual story of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis as they commanded the Union forces and Confederate armies, respectively. This book reads more like a novel than a biographical tome or textbook. In fact, the author's note states that he wrote American history textbooks and as he did his research he copied down the many fascinating quotes and antidotes he came across. Unfortunately, the majority of this "real-life" information could not be included in the textbooks, so the author uses them in this book. This information provides an emotional, sometimes shocking, sometimes humorous, but always very human perspective about the people who were involved in the American Civil War. Readers will appreciate the combination of numerous quotes and factual data that make this sometimes boring subject extremely interesting and easy to read. The book is filled with comical black-and-white illustrations that add to the book's whimsical feel. 2008, Flash Point/Roaring Brook Press, $19.95. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer: Denise Daley (Children's Literature).
An Unlikely Friendship: A Novel of Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley
This historical novel traces the lives and relationship of Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln, and her seamstress, Elizabeth Keckley. The story begins around the time of Lincoln's assassination, a time when Mary and Elizabeth's relationship was both business-like and personal. The story then reverts to the upbringing of both girls, one the daughter of well-to-do Southerners, the other born a slave. The ensuing chapters trace first Mary's early life and then Lizzie's within the setting of pre-Civil War America. A young reader should have some familiarity with this period of history, and, in fact, the epilogue and author's notes should be read first to bring meaning to the improvised dialogue and characterizations throughout. The story is as much about the time period as it is about each woman and their relationship, and would benefit from being read aloud with an adult as an interpreter of the times, socially, politically, and economically. Mrs. Lincoln's escalating personal problems and her reliance on Lizzie for moral support is complicated for young readers to understand, but could be an excellent way to personalize and make meaning out of a time period and event that otherwise seems remote. 2007, Harcourt, $17.00. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
Voyages: Reminiscences of Young Abe Lincoln
Looking as if it is an aged volume, this book examines a portion of the young life of Abraham Lincoln. The author is a dedicated researcher and his illustrations reflect his dedication to details. The warm sepia-toned drawings and pictures give veracity to the text that adds even more impact to the overall impression of this powerful book. The forward reveals that Waldman has woven Lincoln's actual words, family letters, and recollections of friends into "reminiscences" about Lincoln's trips on the Mississippi. The text uses brown italics to indicate Lincoln's actual words and the rest of the text is the storyline cleverly constructed by Waldman. The story reads as if Lincoln might have written it himself. Waldman studied the president's speeches and writing style as well as the colloquialisms of his times so that the text would "ring true." Reading this slim volume will help the reader to understand the profound affect that seeing the slave markets had on Lincoln and his developing conscience. He never forgot the transformative experience of seeing humans sold as slaves. This remained with him all the way to his Presidency and in crystallizing his ideas of democracy. Our country depended on this man's extraordinary dedication to preserving the nation without the terrible stigma of slavery. Students of history and teachers will appreciate the concept of explaining an aspect of Lincoln's development through a story apparently written in his own voice. This book is highly recommended. 2009, Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills Press, Ages 10 up, $16.95. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan
Vinnie and Abraham
Illustrated by Catherine Stock
Vinnie Ream, age sixteen, is a gifted sculptor. Vinnie arrives in Washington, D.C., in the early 1860s and ends up working in the dead letter office at the U.S. Postal Service. Vinnie demonstrates courage, compassion, and determination and becomes the apprentice of Clark Mills, a famous sculptor. Soon powerful men in Washington are sitting for their busts in Vinnie's studio, and one day President Lincoln agrees to work with the young girl. For five months, Vinnie sculpts the President's bravery and sadness into a realistic depiction. When he is suddenly assassinated in April of 1865, Vinnie is devastated. But she resolves to sculpt her statue for the Capitol Rotunda and works hard to make her dream come true. Children and parents will enjoy Dawn Fitzgerald's story, which brings Vinnie Ream to life in vivid detail. Catherine Stock's lively illustrations add a special touch to a book that fuses history with a wonderfully crafted narrative. 2007, Charlesbridge, $15.95. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
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