Monday, February 11, 2013

President's Day Books for Kids

With President's Day fast approaching, I thought I would take the time to share some great presidential books with you.  Chasing Lincoln's Killer I have blogged on before, but it is such a compelling book I wanted to post it again for those who may have missed it.    Where Do President's Come From? is one of those very engaging books that will teach kids about the presidency, but they will never feel as though they are being taught.  And Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas is just a wonderful non-fiction book for older kid that profiles a friendship that changed a nation.

Not a bad selection if I do say so myself.  History can be so compelling and these books deliver the stories in humorous and action packed ways that will intrigue, engage and ultimately educated your kids.

Title:       Where Do Presidents Come From?

Author:   Michael Townsend

Target:    Grades 4-6

Series:     No

What this book is about:
This is a hilarious comic book version of the founding of our democracy all the way to explaining what presidents actually do!  In this book kids learn about the daily life of a president, the pros and cons of the job, how Washington scored the position and even some very useful things including the three branches of government, the electoral college and the Constitution.

Why I love this book:
This book is clever and funny while actually teaching kids.  There are some wonderful gags that run through the book along with some great one liners that will have kids laughing out loud.  The best part is, that in the end, they will have actually learned quite a lot.  Even I was thoroughly amazed by the amount of material Townsend was able to cover in a way that kids will enjoy.  

Who this book is for:
Great for all kids, because the comic format makes it feel more fun that non fiction.  My fifth grade son not only read it willingly, but he didn’t want to put it down when it was time for bed.

Final thoughts:
Why couldn’t we have had books like this when I was a kid!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Where Do Presidents Come From?: And Other Presidential Stuff of Super Great Importance  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:          Chasing Lincoln’s Killer
Author:      James L. Swanson
Target:       Grade 5-8
Series:         No
What this book is about:
This is a historical account of the assassination of President Lincoln and the twelve day manhunt for his killer.  It was adapted from Swanson’s adult book “Manhunt.”  
Why I love this book:
Wow, this was a true historical thriller.  It had action, suspense and intrigue!  While I knew the basic story, this book filled me in so much more on the plot, the other intended victims and the lack of organization surrounding John Wilkes Booth.  The fact that it was true made it all the more amazing and I didn’t want to put it down.  I read it non stop in one afternoon!
Who this book is for:
This book is not for squeamish kids.  The author makes a note in the back that he left in enough blood and gore so that kids would love it, but not so much that parents would “flip out!”  But be warned, it is graphic in it’s depictions.
Final thoughts:
This inspired me to learn more, which the best books will do!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Chasing Lincoln's KillerA portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass

Author:   Russell Freedman

Target:    Grades 6 and up

What this book is about:
This is a book about the friendship and admiration which develops between Lincoln and Douglass over the course of their lifetimes.  The perspective and story shifts from Douglass to Lincoln throughout the book,  sharing the life of each man and the things which influenced the people they would become.  It also details their relatively few encounters, whose impact left a lasting impression on both men.  It is amazing to see the similarities in their upbringing and the perpectives they bring to the debate, Douglass from the plight of the slave and Lincoln in his attempt to delicately move a stubborn nation forward.

Why I love this book:
There are so many books about Lincoln, but amazingly this one brought something new to the table for me.  I learned about how Lincoln balanced his personal beliefs with a country that could only move at a certain pace.  Freedman contrasts this with Douglass who watched decades of oppretion and was not willing to be as patient in ending the horrors of slavery.  The story of these two men, with the utmost respect for each other and with their ability to influence each other after only a few encounters, is compelling.  I finished this book with such a greater understanding of the events than when I started.

Who this book is for:
There are a limited number of graphic details in the book relating to slavery and war which could be upsetting, so I would recommend it for an older audience.  I also think the messages in this book are a bit too complex for a younger student to grasp.

Final thoughts:
I learned quite a bit after finishing this book, but I never felt I was being taught!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

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