“Who Was Abraham Lincoln?” By Janet B. Pascal; illustrated by John O’Brien


02.18.20 • 1:53 pm EST | 0 responses |

“Who Was Abraham Lincoln?” by Janet B. Pascal; illustrated by John O’Brien

“Honest Abe,” “The Great Emancipator”, “The Rail-Splitter” or any number of other nicknames are among those given to this 16th president of the United States. They are all part of his amazing story in the “Who Was Abraham “Lincoln?”, just one volume in the “Who Was…? series. I recommend this highly if you want your young reader to have more than a mere thumb nail sketch of Abraham Lincoln.

February 12th 1809 was the birthday of this giant in the annals of presidential history who came from poverty. Born in Kentucky to a family of farmers, he had a year of schooling, moved at seven to Indiana, was a self-taught lawyer, member of Congress from Springfield, Illinois, was a debating whiz, and became President during the wrenching Civil War that divided a country, and sometimes pitted brother against brother.

In eleven chapters, your young reader AND you will meet this 6’4” man born in Hodgenville, Kentucky that preserved a union and is enshrined in history books, our hearts and his behemoth memorial in Washington, D.C.

Most presidents are achievers, pretty complicated and Lincoln is no exception here. In this illustrated biography, you will read about the man and some facts you may not know that reveal his lighter side. Did you know he was a practical joker? I didn’t. I love the intimate portrait painted of this very human historical giant that suffered from depression.

100 black and white photographs bring Lincoln and his time to life for your young readers. The book ends with Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address,’ and not written on the back of an envelope as myth relates.


He seemed to have three main purposes in writing it. One was to bring the country together after the Civil War, to restate the purpose of the United States and to provide a direction for the future “soul” of the United States.




I had to memorize it in school as have many school children since. The speech lasting some two minutes is both pity and profound.

And here’s a tid bit that I recently read; the story that Lincoln hastily scribbled the speech on an envelope on the way to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on a train to the Civil War battle field there, is pure myth.

He carefully wrote the speech some two weeks before it was to be delivered as he disliked impromptu speech giving.

Additionally, this book gives a side by side Timeline of what was happening in the world at the same time. Did you know that Charles Darwin and Edgar Allan Poe were born in the same year as Lincoln?

With the emergence of Presidents Day, we have begun a tradition of honoring all Presidents on a single day. And so, giants like Abraham Lincoln no longer seem to have the day to themselves. They should, and “Who Was Abraham Lincoln?” and February 12th perfectly combine to do just that for your young reader!

Hey, having trouble getting your boy to read? The “Who Was…?” series introduces people like the famous Lincoln, but also men like Elvis, Harry Houdini, Babe Ruth and Dr. Seuss to them. Great jump start series for boys too!


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