Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mr. Abe!

Today, February 12, is the 204th birthday of one of America's favorite presidents and heroes, Abraham Lincoln! Boy, talk about sticking power. I can't think of one dead person who gets around as much as Abe Lincoln. Forever loved for his views on civil rights, his personal and painful battle leading the country through the Civil War, his grave but kind expression, and his wonderful stovepipe hats, Lincoln continues to live high in our hearts. And so it is our duty as parents and librarians not to let a single child grow up thinking that he was best known for his vampire-hunting skills.

Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee...oh wait, that was Davy Crockett. Oops. Let's try this again.

Born in a one-room log cabin in Kentucky in 1809, Abe grew up to become America's 16th president. He abolished slavery, stood up against the naysayers, watched his country torn apart as brother fought brother, and then began to pick up the pieces with his strong hands and put them back together. He addressed his war-torn nation in a speech which became one of the most well-known and often-repeated in history, and when he was brutally assassinated, his funeral train traveled the country and was mourned by hundreds of thousands.

We've all heard these facts...Why not give your kids a deeper look at Abe Lincoln, the man? Russell Freedman put out a great book called Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind An American Friendship.

Chockful of photos, posters, illustrations and other paraphernalia of the time, this book is perfect for helping young researchers explore the world as it existed for Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Extensive source notes and a bibliography make for accurate information, as opposed to some random website. Great for school projects, or for those kids who just can't get enough of history.

For the younger tykes, try Abe Lincoln's Dream by Lane Smith.

A little girl on a school tour of the White House meets up with the ghost of Abe Lincoln. Together they take a Dickens-esque flying tour of the United States, as Abe surveys the future he helped create. Finally satisfied that the things he worked to put in motion are coming to pass, Abe sails off in a little boat with a smile finally on his face.

Happy birthday, Mr. President!

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