I am thrilled to participate in the month-long blog tour by Penguin Random House in February featuring the New York Times bestselling series Ordinary People Change the World series by Brad Meltzer. I love this series and have reviewed several other titles including I am Lucille Ball and I am Helen Keller.
“No matter where you are from, or how little you have, one thing that can never be taken away from is your voice. When you find something you belive in, use your voice. And when you see injustice, speak louder than you’ve spoken before. When you do…I’ll never be forgotten” (I am Abraham Lincoln by Brad Meltzer 2014)
I am Abraham Lincoln is another unforgettable and powerful book in this series. I am Abraham Lincoln takes the reader through Abe’s life including facts from his childhood and how he developed the experience and character to be one of the most influential presidents of the United States. As a child, Abe had a limited formal education (only 1 year) because at the time, the state of Indiana was so new that schools weren’t even built yet. This did not stop him though! He taught himself to read and used chalk to practice writing on trees in the cornfield where he worked. This determination and drive to educate himself helped him become an avid reader. Abe believed in justice as a young child defending others from harm in various situations. During one part of the book, Abe sees slaves chained together in a boat on the Ohio River. This experience haunted Abe and he vowed to make things right when he was in the appropriate position. Throughout the book, the author provides a brief description of his journey to presidency including his most important words spoken at Gettysburg “All men are created equal”. The book also describes how he helped pass a law to free the slaves and that the government would be dedicated to freedom and justice.
Reading books such as I am Abraham Lincoln can keep Abraham Lincoln’s memory alive and educate our children to the important changes that led to freedom and justice in our country. Children can also learn to find strength in their voice and that one person can make big changes. If we all stand up for what is right, the world will be a better place.
There are many language concepts that can be targeted when reading this book. This book would be beneficial to children by reading it more than one time. To learn more about repeated readings, check out my article here. Reading this book several times will help young children pick up the details in the story and facilitate with discussion questions later. Discuss important vocabulary such as the complex words justice, injustice, hero, struggle, victory, election, toll, equal, event, re energize and many more. When reading this book, stop every couple of pages and review the content. Ask questions and encourage comments. Discuss the challenges that Abe faced (lack of education, fighting with others about injustice, etc) and open up a conversations regarding your own challenges and how our world is today. Ask your child to describe what they think is, “injustice”.
Throughout this book, Abraham Lincoln describes how he aspires to be on the penny one day. As a carryover activity, I created an activity where your child can create their “own penny” with this drawing. After printing it out, discuss where a drawing or photo of their picture should go, date, etc. Discuss the importance of being on a coin and ask your child, “Why do you want to be on a coin?” and “What did Abraham Lincoln do for the US that led to him being on the coin?” This will also lead to a discussion and details of coins and that a child may have not noticed before.