February 12, 2009 marked the 200th birth anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln. Enjoy some of the new books listed here as well as your old favorites with students. Take a look in the Activities Calendars for February 12 to find weblinks and activities.


Adler, David A.  A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln.  Illus. by John & Alexandra Wallner.  Holiday House, 1990. Gr. 2-4.
An introduction to the character traits, family, and important events in the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Armstrong, Jennifer.  The True Story Behind Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.  Illus. by Albert Lorenz.
Aladdin, 2013.  Gr. 3-5
Lincoln's words are interspersed among sections of a text that includes a discussion of events leading to the Civil War, Lincoln's election as president, and his views on slavery. The impact of the speech is discussed as well. Includes an interesting section on myths about the speech.

Barretta, Gene.  Lincoln and Kennedy: A Pair to Compare.  Henry Holt, 2016 .  Gr. 2-4
Using a text strategy that has been successful in his previous books (comparing the past and present with the lives of individuals - Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Leonardo da Vinci), Barretta compares the lives of two presidents in this one. Some of the comparisons are coincidental, but the text provides a history lesson by focusing on some of the definitive moments in the lives of the two men. Colorful, cartoon-like illustrations will appeal to readers.

Bolden, Tonya.  Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty.  Abrams, 2013.  Gr. 5-9
The focal point is Lincoln's dilemmas - what to do with people of African descent and his desire not to anger further both the pro- and the anti-slavery advocates (particularly, the border states) and the legislation he promoted to mollify both sides. Well reproduced primary source materials, including maps, etchings, photographs, and paintings, along with numerous quotes. The extensive back matter adds to its value as a source for research: a very detailed annotated timeline, glossary, excellent source notes, selected bibliography, and index.

Borden, Louise.  A. Lincoln and Me.  Illus. by Ted Lewin.  Scholastic, 1999.  Gr. 1-3
When a boy who shares a birthday with Abraham Lincoln is teased because of some of his physical characteristics, his teacher explains his similarities to the president. Realistic watercolor paintings depict the boy, while background sketches illuminate Lincoln.

Brenner, Martha.  Abe Lincoln’s Hat  (Step into Reading, 3).  Illus. by Donald Cook.  Random House, 1994.  Gr. 1-3
A few anecdotes about Abraham Lincoln including his tendency to keep important papers in his stovepipe hat make up the text of this easy-to-read book illustrated with appealing watercolors.

Brown, Don.  He Has Shot the President!  Roaring Brook, 2014.  Gr. 3-6
The activities of both Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth on that fateful day are presented in parallel fashion until the focus shifts to the chronology of events that take place through actions of Booth and his conspirators. The accessible writing is straightforward and fast-paced and reads like a fictional narrative.

Bryant, Jen.  Abe’s Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln.  Illus. by Amy June Bates.  Sterling, 2009.
Gr. 1-3
As a boy, Abraham Lincoln was mischievous and he loved words. Even as a young child, he considered what it meant to be “free.” Delightful illustrations enhance this true tale from Lincoln’s life.

Burleigh, Robert.  Abraham Lincoln Comes Home.  Illus. by Wendell Minor.  Henry Holt, 2008.  Gr. 2-4
After Lincoln was assassinated, his body was taken by train to Springfield, Illinois, for burial. This story tells of a little boy and his father who travel by buggy to view the passing of the train. Elegant full-page gouache and watercolor paintings illustrate the somber mood of the many who came to pay their respects to the fallen president. Maps and additional information, with end pages that feature the different flags the train passed enroute, are included.

Demi.  President Lincoln: From Log Cabin to White House.  Wisdom Tales, 2016.  Gr. 2-4
This straightforward account of the life of Abraham Lincoln portrays him as history has come to know him - honest, compassionate, and wise. Quotes from Lincoln are liberally sprinkled throughout the text. Demi's signature brightly colored and highly detailed illustrations provide much for readers to pore over. Back matter includes a map of the U.S. in 1861, the text of the Gettysburg Address, a timeline of Lincoln's life, and additional facts. Though there is no bibliography, this book is a useful addition to a collection about Lincoln.

Denenberg, Barry.  Lincoln Shot: A President’s Life Remembered.  Ilus. by Christopher Bing.  Feiwel and Friends, 2008.  Gr. 4-9
Designed to look like a memorial edition of a newspaper published one year after the death of Abraham Lincoln, this highly readable biography begins with the assassination. Following sections discuss Lincoln’s boyhood, law career, life in politics, and eventually his presidency. The antique appearance of the pages, complete with yellowed paper, period advertisements, maps, photographs, and Bing’s pen-and-ink on scratchboard drawings, is compelling.

Fleming, Candace.  The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary.  Schwartz & Wade, 2008.
Gr. 6-10
Numerous primary source documents, including photographs, maps, artists’ renderings, political cartoons, and much, much more, in a design that uses insets and sidebars of interesting information, merge with a clearly written text to create this unique biography. Unlike most books about Lincoln, this one continues Mary’s story after his death. Extensive source notes and lists of references make this an exceptional book for both reading and browsing.

Freedman, Russell.  Abraham Lincoln: A Photobiography.  Clarion, 1997.  Gr. 5 & above
Numerous photographs and a well-researched text make up this Newbery Medal winning biography of Lincoln. Approximately the first half of the book deals with his childhood, early occupations, and the beginnings of his political career; his presidency and assassination make up the second half. Quotes from Lincoln’s writings and speeches are interspersed.

Freedman, Russell.  Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship.
Clarion, 2012.  Gr. 5-8
Clearly written and well researched account of the lives of the two famous Americans who had much in common during their early years as well as in their adult lives. Though they did not meet many times, their shared beliefs made a difference in the lives of African Americans. Illustrated with period photos and artwork. Well documented sources. Excellent.

Fritz, Jean.  Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln  (All Aboard Reading). Illus. by Charles Robinson.  Grosset & Dunlap, 1993.  Gr. 2-4
Realistic watercolor illustrations accompany this easy-to-read anecdotal approach to Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. The text of the speech appears at the end of the book.

Giovanni, Nikki.  Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship.  Illus. by Bryan Collier.  Henry Holt, 2008.  Gr. 2-4
Lincoln invited Frederick Douglass as his guest at a reception following his second inauguration and is dismayed to learn that his friend had difficulty being admitted to the party. The major portion of the book is devoted to comparing and contrasting the young lives of Lincoln and Douglass. Large paper collage illustrations add drama to the scenes.

Harness, Cheryl.  Young Abe Lincoln: The Frontier Days, 1809-1837.  National Geographic, 1996.  Gr. 1-4
Lincoln’s early life, from his log cabin days through some of his jobs as a young man and concluding with his move to Springfield to begin work as a lawyer, is presented in this picture book biography illustrated with highly detailed paintings.

Harness, Cheryl.  Abe Lincoln Goes to Washington, 1837-1865.  National Geographic, 1997.  Gr. 2-5
Picking up where Young Abe Lincoln leaves off, this book covers Lincoln’s entry into politics, his life as a family man, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, his presidency, famous speeches, the Emancipation Proclamation, and his assassination. The detailed illustrations also provide a wealth of information.

Holzer, Harold.  Father Abraham: Lincoln and His Sons.  Boyds Mills, 2011.  Gr. 6 & above
Well-researched biography of the Lincoln family, including the antics of the boys, Mary's sometimes unusual behavior, and Lincoln as a parent. Captioned period photographs and reproductions bring the book to life. Lengthy bibliography. Excellent resource.

Hopkinson, Deborah.  Abraham Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale (Introducing His Forgotten Frontier Friend).  Illus. by John Hendrix.  Schwartz & Wade, 2008.  Gr. K-3
When 7-year-old Abraham falls into a swollen creek, his friend Austin saves him from drowning, thereby changing American history. The unique aspect of this book is the interactivity, in which the author communicates with the illustrator and with readers/listeners inviting responses. As a result, while students are enjoying the story, they are also learning about character, plot, and setting.

Jackson, Ellen.  Abe Lincoln Loved Animals.  Illus. by Doris Ettlinger.  Albert Whitman, 2008.  Gr. 1-3
Through his childhood and into his years as president, Abraham Lincoln had the reputation for being kind to animals. This book relates some of the incidents associated with his love for animals. He “pardoned” a turkey that was to be Thanksgiving dinner, initiating a presidential tradition that is still in place today.

Kalman, Maira.  Looking at Lincoln.  Nancy Paulsen/Penguin, 2012.  Gr. 2-4
The story's narrator sees someone who looks like Lincoln and wants to know more about our 16th president. She finds many facts and some interesting bits of trivia in her search. Illustrations done in naive style depict people, events, and specific items associated with Lincoln. Sources and appended notes.

Keating, Frank.  Abraham  Illus. by Mike Wimmer.  Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2017.  Gr. 2-4
Told in first person, this biography features Abraham Lincoln relating his life experiences from his birth through the achievements of his presidency. Quotes from Lincoln are scattered throughout. Back matter includes the Gettysburg Address and sources. Wimmer's luscious oil paintings provide exquisite detail and add much to the text.

Krensky, Stephen.  Abe Lincoln and the Muddy Pig  (Ready-to-Read, Level 2).  Illus. by Greshom Griffith. Aladdin, 2002.  Gr. 1-3
In this easy-to-read anecdote, Lincoln is on his way to give a speech in a brand new suit, but decides to save a pig stuck in the mud on his way. Colorful illustrations complement the text.

Krull, Kathleen & Brewer, Paul.  Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country).  Illus. by Stacy Innerst. Harcourt, 2010.  Gr. 2-4
The focus of this picture book biography is how humor helped Lincoln deal with difficult situations personally and politically. The straightforward text tells how he used stories and jokes to relieve tensions and entertain others. Liberal use of quotes from his writings, speeches, and conversations. Stylized acrylic illustrations help keep the mood light.

Lincoln, Abraham.  The Gettysburg Address.  Illus. by James Daugherty.  Albert Whitman, 2013.
Gr. 3 & above
Luscious mural-like paintings dominate this re-issue from 1947, just in time to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the address. A "Foreward" and "Afterword" set the stage for the address, and Daugherty's discussion of the paintings assist with the interpretation of Lincoln's words.

McCurdy, Michael (Illus.).  The Gettysburg Address.  Houghton Mifflin, 1995.  Gr. 3 & above
Large, dramatic wood engravings illustrate Lincoln’s classic address. Only a few lines of the speech appear on each page, and the illustrations alternate between battle scenes and the crowd of onlookers listening to Lincoln deliver the address.

Rabin, Staton.  Mr. Lincoln’s Boys: Being the Mostly True Adventures of Abraham Lincoln’s Troublemaking Sons Tad and Willie.  Illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline.  Viking, 2008.  Gr. 1-4
Based on research and embellished to give them shape as stories, the author relates several incidents from the escapades of Tad and Willie, two scamps who created a great deal of chaos, but were doted upon by their father. Exquisite illustrations are filled with detail and emotion. Appended notes provide additional information about the two boys. Readers will be enthralled by their antics.

Rappaport, Doreen.  Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln.  Illus. by Kadir Nelson.  Hyperion, 2008.  Gr. 2-5
Elegant word choice in a sparse text and oversized paintings present this overview of Lincoln’s life, which shows how important words were to him from an early age. A quote from one of Lincoln’s writings or speeches appears in italics on each page. The illustrations depict powerful images, rich in detail and drama. A list of important dates in Lincoln’s life, sources, the text of the Gettysburg Address, and recommended readings are appended.

Roop, Peter & Roop, Connie.  Grace’s Letter to Lincoln.  Illus. by Stacey Schuett.  Hyperion, 1998.  Gr. 2-4
This short chapter book is based on the true story of Grace Bedell, the 12-year-old girl who wrote to Lincoln suggesting that he might win more votes in the presidential election if he grew a beard. When Lincoln’s train passes through Grace’s community on its way to Washington, he seeks her out of the crowd.

Sandler, Martin W.  Lincoln Through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Shaped an Extraordinary Life.  Walker, 2008.  Gr. 5 & above
This book is as much a documentation of the period in which Lincoln lived as it is a biography. Photography played a large role in his life, which is evident in the lavish layout of photos of Lincoln as well as other notables, such as Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, Stephen Douglas, and John Wilkes Booth. The text and captions are informational; artists’ renderings as well as photographs are included. This is a valuable addition to the literature about Lincoln.

Schroeder, Alan.  Abe Lincoln: His Wit and Wisdom from A –Z.  Illus. by John O'Brien.  Holiday House, 2015.  Gr. 3-6
Organized in alphabetical order and written with considerable humor, the text offers insight into the accomplishments of our 16th president. Cartoon illustrations highlight the information.

Smith, Lane.  Abe Lincoln's Dream.  Roaring Brook, 2012.  Gr. 1-4
A girl on a tour of the White House becomes separated from her group and meets the ghost of Abraham Lincoln. Together, they set out across the country, during which time, she answers his questions about what has become of his beloved country since his death. Humorous and thoughtful.

St. George, Judith.  Stand Tall, Abraham Lincoln.  Illus. by Matt Faulkner.  Philomel, 2008.  Gr. 2-4
The text focuses on Lincoln’s early life and the people who influenced him. Most of the incidents described relate to his beliefs in fairness for all. The writing style is conversational, and the cartoon-like illustrations are humorous and match the lightheartedness of the text. A summary of his adult life is appended.

Swanson, James L.  Chasing Lincoln's Killer.  Scholastic, 2009.  Gr. 6-10
This young adult adaptation of the author's adult book Manhunt, is not lacking in intrigue as it takes readers through the events leading up to the assassination of Lincoln and the desperate search for John Wilkes Booth in the next 12 days.

Thomson, Sarah L.  What Lincoln Said.  Illus. by James E. Ransome.  Collins, 2008.  Gr. 1-4
Direct quotes from Lincoln accompanied by short descriptions of the circumstances surrounding the quotes provide a portrait of Lincoln and the events that shaped his life as well as presidency. Brightly colored acrylic paintings add visual interest.

Turner, Ann.  Abe Lincoln Remembers.  Illus. by Wendell Minor.  HarperCollins, 2000.  Gr. 1-4
Presented in Lincoln’s first-person narration, this fictional memoir looks back on the major events in his life, from his log cabin youth to the day of the story, in which he and his wife are waiting “to go see a play.” Full-page realistic paintings provide the perfect complement to the text.

Van Steenwyk, Elizabeth.  How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln: The Story Behind the Nation's First Woman Detective.  Illus. by Valentina Belloni.  Albert Whitman. 2016.  Gr. 2-4
In 1856, Kate Warne was hired by Allen Pinkerton of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency. She was known for her use of disguises, and as a detective, she uncovered a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on his way to his inauguration. Colorful, cartoon-like illustrations add appeal to this story about a little known figure in American history.

Van Steenwyk, Elizabeth.  When Abraham Talked to the Trees.  Illus. by Bill Farnsworth.  Eerdmans, 2000.  Gr. 2-5
Lovely oil paintings illustrate this inspirational picture book biography that focuses on Lincoln’s determination to educate himself by reading books and to hone his public speaking skills.

Waldman, Neil.  Voyages: Reminiscences of Young Abe Lincoln.  Calkins Creek, 2009.  Gr. 4-6
Through three voyages on the Mississippi River during his teenage years and time at the ports of New Orleans, Abraham Lincoln reflects on the ethics of slavery. Illustrations done in watercolor, acrylics, pencil, and pen and ink add to the primary research for this work of fiction.

Wells, Rosemary.  Lincoln and His Boys.  Illus. by P.J. Lynch.  Candlewick, 2009.  Gr. 3-5
The story begins in 1859 with Lincoln’s sons Willie and Tad each relating events that affect their family, including their father’s election to the presidency, the long train trip from Springfield to Washington, the Civil War, their life in the “President’s House,” and more. Rich oil paintings highlight the emotion of the text. The story concludes with one of Lincoln’s speeches on April 11, 1965, three days before his assassination.

Winters, Kay.  Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books.  Illus. by Nancy Carpenter.  Simon & Schuster, 2003.  Gr. K-3
In this introduction to the life of Abraham Lincoln, free-verse text and oil paintings highlight the important events in his life with particular focus on his love for books and words even as a child. Appended notes fill in more of the details.

Winnick, Karen B.  Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers.  Boyds Mills, 1996.  Gr. 1-3
Colorful paintings accompany this fictionalized story about Grace Bedell, the little girl who wrote to Abraham Lincoln, suggesting that his face might look less thin if he grew whiskers.

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