Friday, December 31, 2010

The Final Caldecott Book Review of 2010 (and the last book review for this blog)

Abraham Lincoln

One of the things I noticed, as I was reading these Caldecott Medal winners in relatively reverse chronological order, is that the older the book, the more likely there would be more text.  This book is mostly story, telling about the life of Abraham Lincoln without ever addressing his assassination.  There is a lot to commend this book but I confess being a bit put off by some of the images.  Written in a different time, the parts and pieces that may not be “politically correct” lend themselves to further discussion.  Still, it is wonderful to have a past President celebrated in such a clear and engaging manner.

And this is the last Caldecott Review for this year because my library doesn't have at least one book and I didn't go back and add the most recent winner.  I'll catch up in 2012.  For that reason alone, you'll want to read that other blog to see if I remember a year from now what I didn't finish now.  Feel free to remind me where I left off.

And because of the content for this one book, there is a lot of "further exploration" recommendations.  No apologies.  Some topics merit deeper exploration.

For Further Exploration

  • Look at a map and find the places where Abraham Lincoln lived–from Kentucky to Illinois to the White House.
  • Research “horn books” (there are images of Lincoln and his older sister carrying one to school).  
  • Bake some gingerbread men from scratch.  
  • This book lists several books Lincoln read as a young boy (the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress, etc.).  If you are so inclined, why not read one or more of these books together?  
  • Lincoln worked hard to earn money so why not give your child a chance to earn some money?  Assign chores and a monetary value to the chores.  
  • Also, research the currency used in the US during the early 1800s.  
  • There are many different types of boats pictured throughout the book.  Look up the different types of boats and what they were used for, how they were built, etc.  Make a model of one or more.  
  • Talk about slavery, its history in United States and beyond.  For the older child, watch Roots and Ken Burns’ wonderful documentary The Civil War.
  • One of the stories shared is about a time Lincoln walked 3 miles to pay back some money.  Pack a picnic and take a 3 miles walk with your child.  Sit down and enjoy your picnic before making the walk back, thinking about Abraham Lincoln’s commitment to fairness.  
  • Research Black Hawk and the Sauk Native Americans.  For the older child, discuss the challenges that Native Americans faced after America was “discovered.”
  • Find some of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches in print (including, of course, the Gettysburg Address).
  • Using a blank map of the United States, color in the different states by which were in the Confederacy, which were in the Union, and which tried to remain neutral.  
  • For the older child, read more about Abraham Lincoln’s life.  While some of his personal tragedies are discussed in this book (his mother’s death, etc.), many are not discussed at all.  
  • Read Walt Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain! which is a tribute to Abraham Lincoln.
  • Pick another president from the country’s past and write a children’s book version of his life.  Illustrate it.

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