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Suggested Reading K-6

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Below please find the Lincoln book list for Young Readers provided by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

Younger Readers, Gr. K-2
  • Brenner, Martha.  Abe Lincoln’s Hat Illus. by Donald Cook.  Random House, 1994. 
    Gr. K-3. 
    This easy to read biography uses humorous anecdotes to introduce readers to a very human Lincoln.
  • Giovanni, Nikki.  Rosa.  Illus. by Bryan Collier.  Henry Holt, 2005. 
    Gr. K-2.
    Nearly 200 years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Rosa Parks helped to jump start the twentieth century civil rights movement by refusing to give up her seat on a bus.  This inspirational picture-book biography features watercolor and collage images that convey emotion and energy.  
  • Harness, Cheryl.  Young Abe Lincoln: The Frontier Days, 1809-1837.  National Geographic, 1996.
    Gr. K-3. 
    The first in the series of biographies highlights the childhood and education of our sixteenth president.
  • Hopkinson, Deborah. Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. Illus. by James Ransome.  Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.
    Gr. K-3.
    Young Clara, a slave, sews a quilt that becomes a map depicting the route of the Underground Railroad and the way north to freedom.
  • Krensky, Stephen.  Abe Lincoln and the Muddy Pig.  Illus. by Gershom Griffith.  Aladdin, paper, 2002.
    Gr. K-3.
    This beginning reader uses the story of the time Lincoln helped a pig in trouble even though he had an important speech to make to introduce readers to the life of this great man. 
  • Turner, Ann. Abe Lincoln Remembers. Illus. by Wendell Minor.  HarperCollins, 2001.
    Gr. K-2.
    In this fictionalized memoir, Abe Lincoln looks back on his life and many accomplishments.   This picture book softens some of the rough edges, but young readers will get a thoughtful and engaging introduction to Lincoln’s life.
  • Winnick, Karen, B.  Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers.  Boyds Mills, 1996. 
    Gr. K-3.
    When an 11-year-old girl wrote to Lincoln and encouraged him to grow a beard to get more votes, Lincoln took the time to stop on his way to his inauguration to meet her and thank her for her advice, in this picture book based on a true story.
  • Winter, Jeanette. Follow the Drinking Gourd. Dragonfly, paper, 1988.
    Gr. K-3.
    Using a folksong, “Peg Leg Joe” teaches slaves the route to freedom.
  • Winter, Kay.  Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books.  Illus. by Nancy Carpenter.  Simon & Schuster, 2003. 
    Gr. K-3. 
    A picture book with lovely illustrations that focuses on Lincoln’s education and his love for reading. 
Middle Readers, Gr. 3-5
  • Anderson, Laurie Halse. Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving. Illus. by Matt Faulkner.  Simon & Schuster, 2002. 
    Gr. K-5.
    Sarah Hale campaigned for 38 years, writing letters to every president asking for Thanksgiving to be declared a national holiday. It was only when Lincoln became president that her letters succeeded and “LINCOLN SAID YES!”
  • Armstrong, Jennifer. A Three-Minute Speech: Lincoln’s Remarks at Gettysburg. Aladdin,  2003.
    Gr. 2-5.
    Lincoln’s rise in politics and the Civil War’s significance are related with historical accuracy in an easy-to-read fashion.  The Gettysburg Address’ exact text is included, and its impact on the United States is covered.  A bibliography of sources and Web sites is appended.  
  • Bial, Raymond. Where Lincoln Walked.  Walker, 1997.
    Gr. 3-5.
    This photo-essay includes a brief biography of President Lincoln, a list of locations where he walked, and photographs of places, buildings, and objects significant in his life.
  • Clinton, Catherine. Hold the Flag High. Illus. by Shane W. Evans.  HarperCollins, 2005.
    Gr. 3-5.
    This picture book relates an incident during the Civil War involving Sergeant William H. Carney, the first African American to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.  His Union Army regiment, the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth regiment, was an African-American unit formed in 1863 after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Davis, Kenneth C.  Don't Know Much About Abraham Lincoln. HarperTrophy, paper, 2004. 
    Gr. 3-6.
    Using a question and answer format, this book explores Lincoln’s childhood and youth, education, family life, and presidency. 
  • Deutsch, Stacia, and Rhody Cohon.  Lincoln's Legacy.  Illus by David Wenzel.  Aladdin, paper, 2005.
    Gr. 3-6.
    When Abigail and her friends travel back in time, they find themselves in the time of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency.  Instead of finding the man they had read about, they find a man who is feeling defeated and is about the quit.
  • Herbert, Janis. The Civil War for Kids: A History with 21 Activities. Chicago Review, 1999.
    Gr. 3-8.
    This comprehensive book offers hands-on activities and readable information about the Civil War from the secession debates to Appomattox.
  • Kerley, Barbara.  Walt Whitman:  Words for America.  Illus. by Brian Selznick. Scholastic, 2004. 
    Gr. 3-5
    This picture-book biography focuses on Whitman’s formative years and his Civil War experience when he worked as a volunteer nursing wounded soldiers. His compassion led him to give voice to the nation's grief at Lincoln's assassination. 
  • Marcovitz, Hal. The Lincoln Memorial. Mason Crest, 2003.
    Gr. 3-8.
    This book gives a short history of the Lincoln Memorial from 1911 when President Taft called the first meeting of the “Lincoln Memorial Commission” to A. Philip Randolph’s march on Washington on August 28, 1963, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his most famous speech.
  • Polacco, Patricia.  Pink and Say.  Philomel, 1994. 
    Gr. 3-5.
    A young African American boy named Pink rescues Say, an injured white soldier, and their unexpected friendship resonates against the tragedy of wartime.  Say’s pride in the fact that he once shook hands with Lincoln symbolizes the emotional power of this picture book for older readers. 
  • Rappaport, Doreen. Free At Last! Stories and Songs of Emancipation. Illus. by Shane W. Evans.  Candlewick, 2004.
    Gr. 3-5.
    Using historical vignettes, spirituals, work songs, blues lyrics, and poems, this collection portrays the experiences of African Americans in the South, from the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that declared school segregation illegal.
  • Rockwell, Anne. Only Passing Through : The Story of Sojourner Truth. Illus. by R. Gregory Christie.  Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.
    Gr. 2-4.
    A compelling biographical look at the former slave who traveled the country speaking of what it meant to be a slave. 
  • Roop, Connie. Grace’s Letter to Lincoln.  Hyperion, paper, 1998.
    Gr. 3-5.
    This early chapter book relates the story of 11-year-old Grace Bedell and her letter to Lincoln during his campaign in 1860, advising him that growing a beard might encourage more men to vote for him.
  • Sullivan, George.  Abraham Lincoln.  Scholastic, 2000. 
    Gr. 3-5.
    This very readable biography is just right for students in upper elementary grades.  Plenty of quotes from Lincoln himself help to convey the engaging personality of the president, and complement the facts and events of his life.  
  • Tanaka, Shelley.  A Day That Changed America : Gettysburg : The Legendary Battle and the Address That Inspired a Nation. Illus. by David Craig.  Hyperion, 2003.
    Gr. 3-6.
    The Battle of Gettysburg was the definitive battle in the Civil War.  In a very brief address to the nation, Lincoln focused on putting the war behind and reuniting the country. 
  • Van Steenwyk, Elizabeth.  When Abraham Talked to the Trees. Illus. by Bill Farnsworth.  Eerdmans, 2000. 
    Gr. 3-6.
    Focusing on Lincoln’s youth, this picture-book biography portrays a young boy who struggled against the odds to find time to read and perfect his oration skills. 
Juvenile Readers, Gr. 6-8
  • Abraham Lincoln, The Writer: A Treasury of His Greatest Speeches and Letters, compiled and edited by Harold Holzer.  Boyds Mills, 2000. 
    Gr. 6-8.
    This fascinating resource helps shape a balanced perspective of Lincoln and his times. Each section includes a good general overview and each excerpt from Lincoln’s work is concisely introduced. 
  • Armstrong, Jennifer.  Photo by Brady:  A Picture of the Civil War.  Atheneum, 2005. 
    Gr. 6-8.
    Photographs from over a century ago bring the people and events of the Civil War to life.  These striking historical images are the work of Matthew Brady, a pioneer in the art of photography. 
  • Ashabranner, Brent K. No Better Hope: What the Lincoln Memorial Means to America. Photos by Jennifer Ashabranner.  Twenty-First Century, 2001.
    Gr. 6-8.
    Ashabranner explains the planning and creation of the Lincoln Memorial and its historical significance, and describes historic events that have taken place there, including the 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Bolden, Tonya. Cause: Reconstruction America, 1863-1877.  Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. 
    Gr. 6 and up.  
    Three days before he died, Lincoln warned that rebuilding America after the Civil War would be “fraught with difficulty.”  His death further complicated the ordeal.
  • Freedman, Russell. Lincoln: A Photobiography. Clarion, 1987.
    Gr. 5-8.
    This well-written biography provides a balanced, unromanticized version of the life of the Civil War President.  This book was awarded the 1988 John Newbery Medal.
  • Freedman, Russell. The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights. Clarion, 2004.
    Gr. 6-8.
    Opening with a moving account of the great African American contralto’s Easter Sunday concert from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, Freedman tells the powerful story of Marian Anderson’s struggle for the right to sing.
  • Giblin, James Cross.  Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth & John Wilkes Booth.  Clarion, 2005. 
    Gr. 6-8.
    This dual biography of President Lincoln’s assassin and his talented brother makes for an informational title that is as intriguing and exciting as any work of fiction.
  • Hamilton, Virginia. Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom.  Illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon.  Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.
    Gr. 6-8.
    This book offers 34 brief vignettes of slavery in America from its beginning to the end of the Civil War.
  • Herbert, Janis. The Civil War for Kids: A History with 21 Activities. Chicago Review, 1999.
    Gr. 3-5 and 6-8.
    This comprehensive book offers hands-on activities and readable information about the Civil War from the secession debates to Appomattox. 
  • Holzer, Harold.  The President Is Shot! The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  Boyds Mills, 2004. 
    Gr. 6-8.
    Closely focused on the assassination itself, but with some background information about both Booth and Lincoln, this title is illustrated with archival photos and illustrations. 
  • Lester, Julius. Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue. Hyperion, 2005.
    Gr. 6-8.
    This fictionalized account of the biggest slave auction in American history, which took place in Savannah, Georgia, in 1859, uses dialogue from multiple points of view to bring the events of that day to life for young readers.  This book was the winner of the 2006 Coretta Scott King Author Award.  
  • Marrin, Albert.  Commander In Chief: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.  Dutton, 2003.
    Gr. 6-8.
    This thoughtful and thorough biography of Lincoln for older readers places his story in context as well as providing insight into the differences between the nineteenth century world and contemporary life. 
  • McComb, Marianne.  The Emancipation Proclamation. National Geographic, 2006.
    Gr. 6-8.
    This book describes in very straightforward and accurate text the roots of slavery in the United States, why some people and states were for it and others were opposed to it, why President Lincoln issued the Proclamation when he did, who the Proclamation freed and who it did not, and some of the effects it had on future events.
  • McKissack, Patricia C., and Fredrick L. McKissack.  Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States. Scholastic, 2003.
    Gr. 4-8.
    Slaves’ personal accounts chronicle the various days that led up to the Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth Amendment and the eventual freedom of all slaves.  This book is a 2004 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book.
  • McMullan, Margaret. How I Found the Strong: A Civil War Story.  Houghton Mifflin, 2004.
    Gr. 6-8.
    When Frank’s father and brother leave to fight in the Civil War, Frank is left with his mother and grandparents, and with all the questions that surround his growing friendship with Buck, the family’s slave.
  • Murphy, Jim.  The Long Road to Gettysburg.  Clarion, 1992.
    Gr. 6-8.
    This book begins and ends with Lincoln at Gettysburg, and includes the full text of his address.  Using actual quotes and diary journals from two young soldiers, Murphy tells the story of the war from their viewpoints. 
  • Myers, Anna.  Assassin. Walker, 2005.
    Gr. 6-8.
    Told from the viewpoint of John Wilkes Booth as well from the perspective of a fictional young girl, this novel details Booth’s plot against the president.
  • Pearsall, Shelley. Trouble Don’t Last. Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
    Gr. 6-8.
    In this historical adventure story, an 11-year-old slave, Samuel, and an elderly slave, Harrison, flee Kentucky for Canada via the Underground Railroad.  This book is the winner of the 2003 Scott O'Dell Historical Fiction Award. 
  • Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Abraham Lincoln: Letters from a Slave Girl. Winslow, 2001.
    Gr. 6-8.
    Fictional correspondence between President Abraham Lincoln and a twelve-year-old slave girl discusses his decision to write the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Sappéy, Maureen Stack.  Letters from Vinnie.  Front Street, 1999.
    Gr. 6-8.
    The story of Vinnie Ream, who sculpted the statue of Lincoln that stands in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building, is told through letters to a fictional friend.
  • Sullivan, George. Picturing Lincoln: Famous Photographs That Popularized the President. Clarion, 2000.
    Gr. 6-8.
    Sullivan examines some of the famous photographs taken of President Abraham Lincoln, and discusses the circumstances under which they were taken and how these images were used.
  • Wisler, G. Clifton.  Mr. Lincoln’s Drummer.  Puffin, paper, 1995. 
    Gr. 6-8.
    This engaging historical novel is based on the true story of Willie Johnston, who was just eleven years old when he enlisted in the Union Army.  Due to his courage, he meets President Lincoln twice and becomes the youngest recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Audio/Video
  • A. Lincoln and Me.  Nutmeg Media, 2005. 
    Gr. PreK-3.
    A young boy who shares Lincoln’s birthday thinks about all the ways that he is like and different from the great president in this video presentation of the picture book of the same name by Louise Borden, illustrated by Ted Lewin.
  • Abraham Lincoln.  Schlessinger Media, 2003.
    Gr. K-2.
    Here, young viewers will examine the life of this country boy from Kentucky who rose to become President of the United States, and who guided his country through one of its darkest hours while speaking out against slavery at a time when many were too afraid to take a stand. 
  • Equal Rights For All. Schlessinger Media, 1996.
    Gr. K-4.
    The Bill of Rights, the Abolitionists, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, and the Emancipation Proclamation brought America closer to being a more equal nation. 
  • Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln: The Story of the Gettysburg Address. Weston Woods,  1999.
    Gr. K-5.
    An iconographic video tells the story, written by Jean Fritz, of how President Abraham Lincoln took time from his many duties to write a short, but memorable speech for the dedication of the Gettysburg battlefield cemetery during the Civil War. The video ends with a reading of the Gettysburg Address.
  • A Patriot's Handbook: Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love.  Selected and introduced by Caroline Kennedy.  Hyperion, 2003. 
    Gr. 6-8.
    Although published for adults, many items in this eclectic mix of material will be appealing and intelligible for middle school readers.
  • Pink and Say. Spoken Arts, 1995.
    Gr. 3-5.
    This live action and iconographic 28-minute video is based on the book of the same name by Patricia Polacco.  In the story, two fifteen-year old Union Soldiers become friends.