Today I wanted to do a little review of a neat little biography of Abraham Lincoln called Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman. President Lincoln died on April 15, 1865 (assassinated April 14th) So, if for some reason you didn't cover Lincoln during February, this would be a grew time to honor him and enjoy a great biography!
Age Range: Most likely 1st-3rd grade...But, this would be a great book to use with English Language Learners grades 4-6. The book covers major concepts of his life with great picture supports.
Fun Features: This book is great for younger readers because it is full of fun and light-hearted facts about Lincoln such as he hid notes in his hat, he always had an apple on his desk, and he loved vanilla cake. The book also features really stunning illustrations. It is my absolute favorite part of the book. These illustrations could lead to great discussions about why the author chose specific colors, etc.
I loved the art so much that I ripped it up to hand an illustration on the wall. The side-by-side frames on the top right feature a beautiful illustration of the cherry blossoms in D.C.. I know it is hard to tell here, but the pinks and magentas are very vivid and beautiful.
Educational Features: This book would make for a super strong social studies and ELAR lesson. You could discuss features of a biography and author's purpose.
Other: This book does attribute the Civil War to the issue of slavery. We know that it is not that simple, but for our youngest learners, this is a place to start. Think about your objective with this book- your objective probably isn't for students to understand the causes of the Civil War, but rather to understand Lincoln's contributions to the country. This book can do the latter.
Also, the author describes having a sort of emotional experience from staring at Lincoln's face, and feeling like she could stare at it "forever." That is not a concept I connect with, however I was very very captivated with the Lincoln Memorial when I had a chance to see it in person. I know the power of it, and the end of the book features the memorial. It would be great to show your students or kids photographs of the memorial.
Strong Vocabulary Words: stern, inaugurated, democracy, abolished, wretched