Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Children’s Book Review: My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln, by Robert L. Bloch

In the United States, we recently celebrated Independence Day, a time to rejoice in our freedom and unique history. One of the most well-known figures of American history is President Abraham Lincoln! Of course, we know quite a bit about his activities during his years in the White House, but most people know very little about his childhood. The children’s book, My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln: A Tale of Two Boys from Indiana, by Robert L. Bloch, nicely fills in our knowledge about Lincoln’s early years.

This story is told through the eyes of a fictional boy named Sam Harding, who becomes friends with an eleven-year-old boy named Abe Lincoln. Although this story is a product of the author’s imagination, it nicely describes the conditions and environment in which Lincoln grew up. For example, we learn that Lincoln moved to Little Pigeon Creek in southwestern Indiana from Kentucky when he was 11. He attended a one-room schoolhouse and was very smart. He and Sam played with the children of Kickapoo Indians, who lived nearby. From an early age, Lincoln loved to give speeches and express his opinions. We also learn that Lincoln wasn’t very close to his father, who didn’t understand why he loved books more than farming, but was close to his stepmother, Sally.

In the book, Lincoln witnessed a slave market as a child, which greatly disturbed him. Eventually, Sam and his family moved away, and Sam didn’t see Lincoln again. But thirty-five years later, he read about the Lincoln-Douglas slavery debates and recognized his old friend, who argued that slavery is wrong. Then Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States! The rest of the story is, of course, history. The long and bloody Civil War took place, resulting in an end to slavery. The book stops there and doesn’t cover Lincoln’s assassination, but rather focuses on Lincoln’s accomplishments. As Sam explains, “Abe healed our nation’s spirit and is remembered as one of our greatest Presidents…. He proved that if you study hard, work hard, and treat everyone with respect, you can be anything you want to be in life.”

My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln is delightfully entertaining while managing to be informative at the same time. The author does an excellent job of blending fiction and fact to create an engaging story and convey a meaningful lesson to kids and grown-ups alike. The colorful illustrations are done by former Walt Disney Studios animation artist, John Ewing. I hope you’ll add My Best Friend, Abe Lincoln to your child’s book collection! This is also a must-have for school libraries. Visit http://mybestfriendabelincoln.com/ to learn more.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of this book was sent for review. No financial compensation was provided. The Amazon affiliate links are mine.


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