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Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 11, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 3–6—Written in prose as elegant and spare as that of its subject, this distinguished book takes readers from Abe's backwoods boyhood in Kentucky to his first harrowing witnessing of slavery in New Orleans, on to the Illinois legislature and the presidency. Each half-page of generously spaced text appears against a white background. Rappaport's carefully chosen words are both accessible and effective: "The war dragged on./Lincoln grew sadder and sadder/as more men died." Until, "The South finally surrendered./The job of healing the nation began./But Lincoln was not there to help./An assassin's bullet ended his life." Corresponding quotes from Lincoln appear in italics, e.g., "The moment came when I felt that slavery must die that the nation might live!" Handsome, larger-than-life paintings fill the remaining page and a half of each spread with powerful images—of Abe as a strong, lanky youth with a book or oar in hand, then later as a lawyer with unkempt hair, feather pen, and midnight candles burning. Readers see the somber, resigned faces of slaves—young and old—first in chains, then picking cotton under a blazing sun, and later the proud faces of an all-black regiment of the Union Army. From Lincoln's striking countenance on the cover—scruffy dark hair tinged with gray, big ears, bright eyes, and benevolent face, lined with worry and age—to the end, this is one Lincoln book that all libraries will want to have.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This collaboration between Rappaport and Nelson provides a sweeping arc of Lincoln’s life, jumping from his humble beginnings and his early political career through his struggles to preserve the Union and to help abolish slavery. Rappaport writes in a very free verse and on each page echoes her narrative with prescient samplings of Lincoln’s words. In the generously sized artwork, which fills three-quarters of each spread, Nelson makes the familiar face, staring out at us from various currencies, exciting again, showing deep furrows and wearied creases, and on the few occasions when Lincoln falls prey to looking like a wooden statue, it is the faces of the people surrounding him, watching him and judging him, that carry the weight of the artwork’s impact. Nelson has the uncanny ability to telegraph a full range of emotion in the faces, especially in the eyes of his subjects, and it is in these details that he displays the true immensity of his talent. Minimally, his work is compelling; at best, it’s spellbinding. The exceptional art, along with Rappaport’s and Lincoln’s words, makes this a fine celebration of a man who needs little introduction. Grades 2-4. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (November 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423104080
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,249,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Doreen Rappaport is known for her ground-breaking approach to multicultural history and stories for young readers. In her many award-winning books, she brings attention to not-yet-celebrated Americans, along with well-known figures.

A former teacher of music and reading, Doreen knows how to capture children's attention. Her dynamic formats engage even the most reluctant readers.

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is an Orbis Pictus Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Honor Book, Caldecott Honor Book for Illustration, ALA Notable Book, and is on the Blue Ribbon list of the Bulletin Center for Children's Books.

We Are The Many: A Picture Book of American Indians, introduces the accomplishments of sixteen distinguished American Indians.

Her classic Escape From Slavery presents the history of the Underground Railroad through adventure stories.

The Boston Coffee Party introduces children to a neglected event in history books and shows the active roles played by women during the Revolutionary War.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Hanrahan on December 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful overview of Abraham Lincoln's life. Seventeen pages of concise writing, each containing absolutely stunning illustrations, take you through Lincoln's childhood, early political years, presidency, and death. Lincoln's words are printed on every page, highlighting the important aspects of the story. This book can be used to introduce the presidency, slavery, Civil War, or civil rights. The Gettysburg Address is printed in the back, along with a list of important dates and a list of suggested further reading and internet sites.

I am a fourth and fifth grade teacher, and this book is an ideal read aloud for my Civil War Unit. I highly recommend this book - it is a wonderful story wrapped in a beautiful package.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Teacher on May 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Children are facinated with our presidents who were assasinated, and they really enjoy reading about Abraham Lincoln, the president who was instrumental in freeing the slaves.
This book has beautiful illustrations and is written really well. Add to this Lincoln's own words, and it becomes a 'must have'. I read this book aloud to 21 first graders and you could have heard a pin drop. They hung on every word. They were allowed to ask questions when finished, and these youngsters had many questions, ranging from inacuracies they had heard- to,"What happened to the man who killed Abraham Lincoln?" Great book!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carol C. VINE VOICE on March 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully written and beautifully illustrated book, with detailed, full-page illustrations throughout.

On nearly every page in this book, we see Lincoln's love of learning, industriousness, and commitment to principle. The focus is on Lincoln's recognition, gained from his early days carrying cargo on the Mississippi river, that slavery is wrong, and his life-long efforts leading to emancipation. In signing the emancipation proclamation, Lincoln's words are "I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper. My whole soul is in it."

One of the most unique facets of this book is that nearly every page contains a stand-alone quote in Lincoln's own words. The quotes are well-chosen and aptly highlight the author's text. The quotes also contain lessons for readers of all ages -- such as Lincoln's advice that one should "Resolve to be honest at all events" and if you can't be an honest lawyer, choose some other professions in which you can be honest. And in response to attachks "I do the very best I know how -- the very best i can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end."

Notes from the author and illusrator instroducing the book show how much research and effort they put into getting this right. The author read and reread Lincoln's letters, nespaper interviews, and many speeches. The illustrator visited Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois and other places along Lincoln's journey.

The illustrations are breathtaking. The cover portrait is from a larger illustration within the book, highlighting words from the Gettysburg Address. Other recommended books by the author include
...Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Sack VINE VOICE on April 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Our Abe Lincoln is a creative and imaginative look into the life of our 16th president. The author use one of Abe's campaign songs as a starting point for the picture book. The words of the song are set to the folk song The Old Grey Mare. Through the song, children are taken on a journey of Honest Abe's life.

The illustrations in the book are vivid and bright. The book will make learning history and fun and enjoyable experience.

Our children ages 4 and 5 loved this book and we read/sung it many times! Facts about Abe Lincoln will be in their heads for many years to come thanks to this book!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By topangamaria on February 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There are many many books being published honoring Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. This tale told is THE BEST of the best maybe because
of how brilliantly Lincoln's own words are incorporated into the story.
VERY well done! Illustrations by Kadir Nelson add brilliance as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Akers on February 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I love both the illustrator and the author. Nelson's illustrations never cease to amaze me - I often think of cutting them out and them in my house!! "Abe's Honest Words" definitely measures up to Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., also by Rappaport. I love the unique perspective that she brings to these well known historical figures. My husband used this book to teach a lesson on integrity to his third grade class and it was well received - can't wait to use this one in my fifth grade classroom as well!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By VReviews VINE VOICE on March 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Themes: Honesty, perseverance/goal setting
Content areas: Language: using quotations in writing, synonyms. Social Science: Civil War, abolition of slavery.

At once, through the artful selection of Lincoln's own words, Doreen Rappaport provides insight into the core values of Lincoln's spirit and genius. From the loss of his mother, and growing up poor in the wilderness, to his tenacity to read and learn and question the world around him. Lincoln through his honest actions and words kept pushing himself to make a difference for good.

In addition, through succinct yet vivid descriptions of key events in Abe Lincoln's life, Rappaport reveals Lincoln's strength of character. Lincoln's own words are matched perfectly with the bold yet sensitive illustrations of Kadir Nelson. Nelson's unique use of perspective allows the reader to almost feel as if they are a part of each picture. Providing an immediacy and connection to Lincoln's life.

Not to be overlooked are the author and illustrator's notes at the front of the book; as well as excellent reference material provided at the back of the book. Reference materials include a timeline of important events, books and web sites for further information. Also provided is the eloquent Gettysburg Address in its entirety.
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