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Mr. Lincoln's Way Hardcover – August 27, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Mean Gene" is the bully of the school, the one who has been taught to hate anyone different from himself. But Gene has also been taught, by his grandfather, to identify and love birds. He knows everything about birds, from the types of trees they like to nest in to the kind of food they need to eat. Mr. Lincoln latches onto this talent and nurtures it, asking Gene to be in charge of figuring out what should go into the school's atrium. As Gene eventually blossoms, so do the ducks who live in the atrium--and as he helps herd the ducklings towards the pond, so is he led by Mr. Lincoln towards greater understanding and tolerance.
This is a lovely book for just about any age. Younger kids can just enjoy the pictures, while older kids may want to discuss the idea of prejudice and consequences for actions. It's a treat to see a black principal with a whole culturally diverse student body, too. Highly recommended.
We are Mrs. Moore's fourth graders from Murphy Elementary School and the illustrations from this book are based on our school. We see the ducklings in our atrium every year. This book is so good that we think it deserves the Caldecott award.
Anyway, MR. LINCOLN'S WAY is one of six Polacco books that I gave to my daughter for her birthday. It is the touching story of an African American Principal and how he cares so much for his students that he goes out of his way to reach 'the problem child.' "Mean Gene" (who is white) is the school bully; he terrorizes the children, especially those who are different because of their race or nationality. Mr. Lincoln discovers that Gene is passionate about birds and gives him a project--filling the school atrium with birds. Gene ends up having a complete personality change which is even noticed by his teachers. The key to this story is Principal Lincoln who takes the time to discover why Gene acts out--a cruel, racist father. As teachers, we sometimes have students who are 'unlovable' and we never take the time to think why: Did this child have breakfast? Is he even loved? Is he beaten at home? I think if we spent more time learning about our student's backgrounds, we could touch more lives.
Eugene Esterhause ("Mean Gene") beats up other kids, misbehaves badly in class, and uses racial epithets. The principal, an African American named Mr. Lincoln, overhears Gene using the "N" word:
"'I'm going to tell Mr. Lincoln,' she announced.
`Go ahead, you little brat. I ain't afraid of that n___' Then he stopped. Mr. Lincoln was standing right there."
Polacco continues: "Now Eugene was in Mr. Lincoln's thoughts more than ever-he knew he had to find a way to reach him." Mr. Lincoln connects with Gene as the two build an aviary, building Gene's self-esteem and using Gene's love of different birds as a way to understand that diverse people are united as well. Later, when Eugene calls two students from Mexico "brown-skinned toads," he learns how Gene's father has "an ugly name for just about everybody who's different from us." Mr. Lincoln makes him promises to respect all the schoolchildren ("my little birds"), and learns that there's a grandfather in the picture who does not share Gene's father's prejudice.
Depending on the age and maturity of the reader, the story presents many good opportunities for sharing, discussion, and problem solving. There is little preaching here; instead, Gene learns the power of thinking for one's self, and how youngsters--like baby birds--are shaped by the environment. As in her superb "Thank you, Mr.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
fantastic book with a great message for our younger children.Published 3 months ago by Barbara Winner
Fantastic book addressing bigotry, the importance of good parenting and bullying. The Principal handles the difficult child very well and helps him be the person he really wants to... Read morePublished 7 months ago by C. Stephens
Mr. Lincoln's Way by: Patricia Polacco shows the power of teachers and administrators to reach even the most unreachable kids. Read morePublished 22 months ago by kimberlymann
This book is just what we needed. This will help to expand the library so students are able to complete compare and contrast activities.Published on April 26, 2014 by MC
Any school district wanting to combat bullying should use this book in every classroom. It is hard to look through the an eyes of someone who is unkind and help them consider... Read morePublished on March 2, 2014 by Penny Petrina
Eugene the Bully is transformed by this
Eugene wanted to live back on his Grandfather s farm
He and Zprincipal replanted the school garden to attract... Read more