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Literature for Presidents’ Day

Abraham Lincoln



Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln, A
Adler, David. Holiday House, 1990
This is a wonderful beginner’s book on the life and achievements of Abraham Lincoln. Primary

A.A. Lincoln and Me
Borden, Louise. Scholastic, 1999
This is the story of a young boy who realizes that he not only shares his birthday and similar physical appearance with Abraham Lincoln, but that he is like him in other ways as well. Elementary

Abraham Lincoln: U.S. President
Bruns, Roger. Chelsea House, 1991
This rather traditional biography of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, provides a brief overview of his early life but focuses mainly on his term of office, leadership, and decision-making during the Civil War. Middle and High School

Meet Abraham Lincoln
Cary, Barbara. Random House Books, 2001
This entry in the "Landmark Books" series is a standard biography of the sixteenth president. It includes authentic, but seldom-told stories about Lincoln. It includes color illustrations to support the description of events and to catch the spirit of Lincoln and his era. Middle and High School

Abraham Lincoln
D'Aulaire, Ingri, and Edgar P. D’Aulaire. Bantam, 1987
This is a children's book about the life of Abraham Lincoln. First written and illustrated in 1939, it was expanded in 1957. Most of the book focuses on Lincoln's early life. The illustrations resulted in the book being awarded the 1940 Caldecott Medal for best illustrations in a children's book. It is a book that helps children learn more about U.S. history and a great president. It is also a book that should be on the shelf of any serious student of children’s literature. Elementary

Lincoln's Legacy (Blast to the Past Series #1)
Deutsch, Stacy and Rhody Cohon. Aladdin Books, 2005
In this Blast to the Past time travel novel, third-grade teacher Mr. Caruthers asks his students his weekly "What if?" question. After posing his latest question, "What if Abraham Lincoln quit and never issued the Emancipation Proclamation?” the teacher asks the four students to try to dissuade Lincoln from resigning and gives them his hand-held computer, programmed to deliver them to the capital city on the very day that Lincoln is to issue the Proclamation-if he stays in the job. The book includes vivid descriptions of Civil War-era Washington. With its relatively short length, full-page art and accessible writing, this is a good choice for reluctant readers.  Elementary

Lincoln: A Photobiography
Freedman, Russell. Houghton Mifflin, 1989
Freedman utilizes more than 80 photographs and prints to illustrate his biographical text. While some of the photographs are well-known, many are less familiar pictures that support Freedman as he contrasts the Lincoln of legend to the Lincoln of fact. The famous president's childhood, self-education, early business ventures, and entry into politics comprise the first half of the book, with the rest of the text covering his presidency and assassination. There are abundant quotations from original sources such as letters, contemporary newspaper articles, etc. Elementary and Middle School

Just a Few Words Mr. Lincoln: Story of the Gettysburg Address
Fritz, Jean. Putnam Publishing Group, 1993
Fritz focuses on the year 1863 when, after 23,000 Union soldiers were killed in the Battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln was asked to speak at a ceremony honoring the fallen troops. Dispelling traditional lore that the President scratched out his speech on the back of an envelope during the train ride to Gettysburg, Fritz explains that it was prepared in advance, needing only a last-minute edit. Interspersed in the text are period photos. Elementary and Middle School

Gettysburg Address, The
Emancipation Proclamation, The
Hossell, Karen Price. Heinemann, 2005.
These brief, beautifully illustrated entries in the Voices of Freedom series provide an introductory look at these famous, America-defining documents by Abraham Lincoln. Elementary.
Abraham Lincoln: The Life of America's Sixteenth President
Jeffrey, Gary and Kate Petty. Rosen Central, 2005
Beginning with Lincoln's hardscrabble youth, the narrative shows him making his mark as a lawyer and politician, and gradually uniting his aversion to slavery with a passion to keep America together. It shows Lincoln's underlying personal sadness, including his fits of terrible depression. During the Civil War, the book's focus naturally shifts from the president to the battlefield, but is guided by Lincoln's steady search for the right general to end the bloodshed. Finally, the story views Lincoln from a distance, as lurking John Wilkes Booth draws nearer to the moment of assassination.  Elementary and Middle School.

Abraham Lincoln: Lawyer, Leader, Legend
Korman, Justine and Ron Fontes DK Publishing, 2001
In this DK Level 3 book, readers will find out about our sixteenth president's humble beginnings, his career as a lawyer, his marriage and family life, and his presidency during the Civil War. The illustrations are well done in both content and placement. The maps, photographs, and drawings, in black and white and color, extend the clearly written text and add information.

Abraham Lincoln: A Man for All the People: A Ballad
Livingston, Myra. Holiday House, Inc., 1996
This is a narrative poem telling the story of Lincoln's life, from his childhood in Kentucky to his assassination on April 14, 1865. Some stanzas incorporate well-known details of his life and others integrate quotations from famous speeches. Each double-page spread has one or two stanzas on the right and a full-color painting on the left. Primary

Lincoln, in His Own Words
Meltzer, Milton. Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1993
Meltzer selects passages from Lincoln's speeches, letters, and other writings to characterize the man, follow the development of his ideas, and exemplify his achievements. Roughly half the words here are Lincoln's, with Meltzer's commentary setting them in context with enough specific events, details, and interpretation to create a biography. Meltzer's assessment of Lincoln is a ``great mind and…noble spirit'' as well as a political realist whose determination to save the Union was always informed by his compassion for the slaves. Included are 14 “Brief Profiles of Lincoln's Contemporaries,'' significant figures from Jefferson to Grant. A chronology identifies contemporaneous political and social history. Middle School

Abe Lincoln Grows Up
Sandburg, Carl. Harcourt, 1987
This is a classic biography of Lincoln. It is a redesigned issue of the beautifully written story of young Abe Lincoln, drawn from the early chapters of Carl Sandburg's original biography, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years. Elementary

Lincoln Assassination, The
Somerlott, Robert. Enslow Publishers, 1998
Using documented primary sources, Somerlott provides a solid account of this tragic event. He captures the heated atmosphere of Washington, DC, in April 1865, describing the threats and dangers that Lincoln had faced since his election to the presidency of a war-torn nation, Booth's background and obsessive pro-slavery beliefs, and his plot to kill Lincoln and other high-ranking government officials. The shooting and subsequent death of the president is chronicled in detail, as is the assassination's aftermath. Middle School

Abraham Lincoln: The Great Emancipator (Childhood of Great Americans Series)
Stevenson, Augusta. Simon & Schuster Children's, 1982
This Lincoln biography focuses on his early life in pioneer Illinois. It captures Lincoln's human qualities and his struggles for education in an appealing manner for young readers. Elementary

Abraham Lincoln
Sullivan, George. Scholastic, 2000
Abraham Lincoln made history in a dramatic and unforgettable way. His speeches are memorized and his quiet strength and impeccable honesty are identified as values to which we should aspire. This concise book tells Lincoln's story as someone who touched lives because he was a common man who achieved greatness due to his work ethic and belief in himself. A biography and chronology of Lincoln's life, as well as a list of suggested further reading are found at the end of this easy-to-read book. Elementary and Middle School

Abraham Lincoln
Stone, Tanya L. DK Publishing, 2005
Find out about Lincoln's childhood on a frontier farm, how a struggling small town lawyer became president, and why he became one of America's most revered leaders. Color photographs of people, places, and artifacts, and sidebars on related subjects add interest. Elementary and  Middle School

Picturing Lincoln: Famous Photographs That Popularized the President
Sullivan, George. Clarion Books, 2000
This book examines famous photographs taken of President Abraham Lincoln and provides a social and historical context for how these photos were taken and used.  Middle School

Lincoln's Little Girl: A True Story
Trump, Fred. Boyds Mills, 2000
During the presidential campaign of 1860, 11-year-old Grace Bedell wrote to Abraham Lincoln and suggested that he grow whiskers, thinking that the beard would increase his chances for election. The author has uncovered original letters and newspaper accounts that add to this young person's perspective on history. This is a more advanced book than Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers but it is on the same topic. Elementary and Middle School

Abe Lincoln Remembers
Turner, Ann. Harpercollins Juvenile Books, 2000
Fictitious reminiscing of Lincoln about his life as he waits to go out with his wife to the theatre. A smooth flowing narrative with excellent illustrations is created that earns this title a NCSS Notable Book selection. Elementary and Middle School

Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers
Winnick, Karen. Boyds Mills Press, 1999
In 1860, 11-year-old Grace Bedell wrote to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln suggesting that he grow a beard. Lincoln responded to the letter. On his way to Washington, DC for his inauguration, his train stopped at her hometown and a bewhiskered Lincoln introduced himself to Grace. Elementary

Young Abraham Lincoln: Log-Cabin President
Woods, Andrew. Troll Communications, 1992
Abraham was born in a log cabin to a poor family. He worked hard to help his family. He had very little schooling, but read books at night by the light of the fire. He loved learning. Elementary


George Washington

George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War
Allen, Thomas. National Geographic Society , 2004
This fascinating account of espionage during the Revolutionary War will be enjoyed by young history buffs as well as anyone delighted by codes and ciphers and the elaborate ruses of devious and daring spies. Readers will learn about messages coded on laundry lines (where black petticoats and white handkerchiefs carried secret meanings), different kinds of invisible ink, masked messages hidden within ordinary-seeming missives, "accidentally" dropped balls of yarn, and a message swallowed in a silver ball. George Washington was an accomplished spymaster, as was Benjamin Franklin, from his post in Paris. There is a glossary of spy terms, an appendix on how to decipher one important Revolutionary War code, and a guide to the various secret codes hidden throughout the book itself.  Middle School

George Washington: A Collection
Allen, W.B. (Ed.). Liberty Fund, 1988
Allen has assembled a large collection of Washington's letters and speeches in this readable volume. Middle and High School

Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington
Brookhiser, Richard. Free Press, 1997
In this thought-provoking look at George Washington as soldier and statesman, Richard Brookhiser traces and evaluates the achievements of Washington's career. He argues that it was Washington’s character and values that shaped the future of American politics.

George Washington: U.S. President
Bruns, Roger, A.. Chelsea House, 1991
This biography for students of America's first president is chock full of primary material and anecdotes that bring Washington to life. Also included is an introduction by noted historian Arthur Schlesinger. Middle and High School

George Washington's Teeth
Chandra, Deborah. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003
Rollicking verse, enlivened by witty drawings, tells of the effect Washington's long-suffering dental woes had on his military career and public life… "Poor George had two teeth in his mouth/The day the votes came in/The people had a President, /But one afraid to grin." Using historical records, letters, and diaries this humorous and reverent portrait follows the trail of the missing teeth and sets the record straight once and for all that Washington's false teeth were not made of wood. Primary

Washington: The Indispensable Man
Flexner, James T. Little Brown & Co., 1994
Flexner's book argues that George Washington was an icon in his own lifetime. He was revered by the great men of his day, beloved by regular people, and a moral example. Flexner writes that these qualities make him as relevant to the modern American experience as he was two-hundred-plus years ago. Flexner guides readers through Washington's life, but also shows the impact of his actions. Middle and High School

George Washington: A Picture Book Biography
Giblin, James Cross. Scholastic,1997
This is a clearly written, dramatically illustrated book about the important events in and achievements of our first president's life. Mentioned are some of the issues with which Washington grappled (states' rights as opposed to a strong federal government; the role of the United States in France's war with Britain). Giblin is fair and objective. He does not neglect the fact that Washington kept slaves at Mount Vernon, nor that his will set them free after his wife's death. Grades 5-8

George Washington
Harness, Cheryl. National Geographic, 2000
Harness’ brief biography of George Washington places him in the context of his time through wonderful pictures and maps. The French and Indian War, Revolution and presidency come alive for readers through the clearly written text, illustrations, and text inserts describing other world events occurring at the same time. Grades 5-8

George Washington
Hort, Lenny. DK Publishing, 2004
George Washington is often called the father of our country. He beat the odds to lead the Continental Army to victory in the Revolutionary War, served as first president of the United States, and then retired from public life to farm Virginia's largest plantation. Color photographs of people, places, and artifacts, and sidebars on related subjects add dimension and relevance. Elementary and Middle School

America in the Time of George Washington 1747 to 1803
Isaacs, Sally S. Heinemann, 1998
This book details the life of both George Washington and early America. Washington shaped the America of this era in three ways: he commanded the Continental Army that fought the American Revolution, he presided over the Constitutional Convention, and he was the first president of the U.S. Learn about each in this fully illustrated book. Elementary and Middle School

George Washington
Kent, Zachary. Children's Press, 1986
Zachary Kent offers a defining moment for Washington in the first chapter, Washington's inauguration on April 30, 1789, when he wrote to friends "I greatly fear that my countrymen will expect too much from me." But as Kent amply proves, no other one of the Founding Fathers could have done a better job of fulfilling their hopes and dreams. Consequently, Kent characterizes Washington's life up to that moment as a journey to greatness. Elementary and Middle School

George Washington: Soldier, Hero, President
Korman, Justine and Ron Fontes. DK Publishing, 2001.
In this Level 3, DK biography young readers will learn about our first president's childhood, his life as a farmer, statesman, general, and his days as president. Elementary

George Washington and the Founding of a Nation
Marrin, Albert. Dutton Books, 2001
Marrin writes both an account of Washington's life and of the colonies' fight for independence. He conveys Washington’s strengths, fears, and complexities. He shows Washington as a young man eager for adventure and prestige, as a general who was better at inspiring his men than at planning battle strategies, and as an aging leader who wanted to retire but could not refuse a call to serve as president. The most revealing segments deal with Washington's attitude toward slavery. Marrin portrays Washington as a man of his time, one who could never reconcile his public philosophy of freedom with his private actions. Middle and High School

George Washington: America's Leader in War and Peace
McNeese, Tim. Chelsea House, 2005
In this entry in the Leaders of the American Revolution series, McNeese presents Washington’s life chronologically and then briefly summarizes his legacy. There are a few black and white photos but this well-written book is more for report writing than picture browsing.  Middle and High School

George Washington and the General’s Dog
Murphy, Frank. Random House, 2003
During a battle of the American Revolution, George Washington sees a dog lost on the battlefield. Whose dog is it? How will it find its master? This little-known true story about America’s first president is part of the “Step into Reading” series. Primary

Buttons for General Washington
Roop, Peter and Connie Roop. Carolrhoda, 1986
In the fall of 1777, fourteen-year-old John Darragh takes coded messages his mother sewed into his coat buttons from his home in British-occupied Philadelphia to his brother at George Washington's camp. Elementary

George vs. George : The Revolutionary War as Seen by Both Sides
Schanzer, Rosalyn. National Geographic Children's Books, 2004
This is a carefully researched, evenhanded narrative with well-crafted watercolor illustrations. The introduction sets the tone, introducing both George Washington and King George III, mentioning their differing views, and noting that every story has two sides. The remainder of the book presents these two sides on spreads that alternate between the man and the monarch, with comparisons of the American and British governmental forms, views on taxation, the Boston Tea Party, and coverage of most of the major battles of the Revolutionary War. Speech balloons reproduce the exact words of the speakers, with appended "Quote Sources." Elementary and Middle School
Journal of Major George Washington
Short, James, and Thad Tate. Colonial Williamsburg, 1959
Here is a primary source account of Washington's first official mission from October 1753 to January 1754. This is a useful resource to emphasize the importance of keeping journals. Elementary and Middle School

Take the Lead, George Washington
St. George, Judith. Philomel, 2005
This picture book focuses on the impact a surveying trip had on Washington in his 16th year. The engaging text presents a childhood marked by frequent moves and family life with many stresses and strains. St. George presents Washington's can-do attitude and incipient charisma so that he comes across as thoroughly likable, intelligent, and curious, the kind of person almost anyone would want to know. A final page gives a brief snapshot of Washington's life. Middle School.

George Washington
Usel, T.M. Bridgestone/Capstone, 1999
Simple text and photographs detail the life and achievements of George Washington. Children will not only learn about the life of the first President of the United States but they will also be introduced to the important places and monuments that bear his name. Elementary

Young George Washington: America’s First President
Woods, Andrew. Troll Communications, 1992
George lost his father when he was very young. He went to live with his older brother on a farm in colonial Virginia. When he grew up, he became a soldier fighting for independence. Primary


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