Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kids Off The Couch's Hints and Tips - All About Abraham Lincoln

Happy 200th Birthday Abe!
There have been more books written about Honest Abe than any other historical figure. In honor our 16th President's big day, we have come up with a few ways to peek under his big hat and get to know him better.

If Your Kids Read Only One Book about Lincoln: The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary is an exciting new biography for kids that combines photos, letters and text. Common Sense Media says "this is the way biographies for children ought to be done".

If You Only Read One Book About Lincoln: Okay, we couldn't narrow it down to one -- here are several excellent choices. Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals is a lively portrait of the President's election and his historic, inclusive Cabinet choices; our current President is said to be influenced by this biography, and Steven Spielberg has optioned the film rights. Garry Wills' Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America is a Pulitzer Prize winning deconstruction of Lincoln's most famous speech, and Gore Vidal's Lincoln: A Novel gets below the skin of the iconic figure. In Sunday's New York Times, William Safire reviewed several new books about the 16th President -- from a concise 79 page book to a momentous 2,000 page study. Click here to learn which one is right for you.

If Your Teens Only Have Ten Minutes: Have them check out this great NPR podcast, a brief tribute to Lincoln with music and anecdotes.

If You Want to Build Lincoln's Log Cabin with your Tots: Lincoln Logs were designed by John Lloyd Wright and let kids re-create Lincoln's early days with their own hands.

If You Only Watch One Movie About Lincoln:
Young Mr. Lincoln is a wonderful John Ford film starring Henry Fonda in an unforgettable performance. Made in 1939, this black and white film is geared for adults, so not a natural fit for kids (unless yours are either devoted to classic film, or Abe himself). (1939, UR, 100 minutes)

If You Like to Learn Online: The Ford's Theater, where Lincoln was assassinated, is a surprisingly cool place to visit (next time you are in DC). Check out their Learn The Story website, a great one-stop resource for all things Lincoln.

If You Only Read One Speech or Poem: Read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address (in his own handwriting) and Walt Whitman's poem in response to the news of Lincoln's assassination.

If You Love The Huntington Library: A brand new exhibit, The Last Full Measure of Devotion: Collecting Abraham Lincoln showcases documents and relics that will thrill adult Lincolniana lovers. Through April 27.