Finding Lincoln

( 1 )

Overview

Louis needs to write an essay for school about young Abraham Lincoln. But it's 1951 in Alabama, and African Americans cannot use the public library. Mama says one day soon they'll be able to check out books, but Louis isn't going to wait! When he makes a brave journey into the "whites-only" library, something surprising and wonderful happens - he meets a brave young librarian. Ann Malaspina's moving story and Colin Bootman's rich paintings evoke the troubles and triumphs of days not long past. Includes a note on ...

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Overview

Louis needs to write an essay for school about young Abraham Lincoln. But it's 1951 in Alabama, and African Americans cannot use the public library. Mama says one day soon they'll be able to check out books, but Louis isn't going to wait! When he makes a brave journey into the "whites-only" library, something surprising and wonderful happens - he meets a brave young librarian. Ann Malaspina's moving story and Colin Bootman's rich paintings evoke the troubles and triumphs of days not long past. Includes a note on the history of racial segregation in public libraries, a brief history of Abraham Lincoln's life, and an "If You Want to Read More" listing.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—In this snapshot of life in 1951, we see segregation through the eyes of a young African-American boy who is just learning about the consequences of inequality. Ann Malaspina's book (Whitman, 2009) takes us to Alabama and a time when libraries and other services were reserved for "whites only." Louis has always been drawn to the library and to the "millions" of books inside. Although he needs to research the life of Abraham Lincoln for a class assignment, he is not welcome in the library. His parents empathize with Louis, offer the Church library of donated books, and encourage him with the thought that some day he will be able to use the same library as the white people. Only with the help of a courageous young librarian does he get to sample to riches of the library and is given a copy of Carl Sandburg's Abe Lincoln Grows Up (Harcourt, 1940). Colin Bootman's life-like watercolor illustrations are scanned iconographically. The book's wonderful brief synopsis of Lincoln's life is given added depth with the addition of photographs, drawings, and documents on the DVD. In a Conversation with the Author and Illustrator, Malaspina discusses her reasons for writing the book, her love of libraries, and her hope that the story will inspire readers to courageous acts. Bootman talks about his career as an artist and where he finds inspiration. Louis's story serves as a gentle introduction to segregation and to Lincoln's important contributions to America.—MaryAnn Karre, Horace Mann Elementary School, Binghamton, NY
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Louis needs a book about the young Abe Lincoln for a school essay, but in 1951 Alabama the library, like the drugstore's lunch counter, is for whites only. His Daddy would like a book too about keeping bees. When Louis decides to try the library anyway, he is rudely turned away, but as he reaches the door, something surprising happens: a courageous young librarian whispers to him to come back tomorrow at five o'clock. How Louis gets his book, writes his essay, and even looks forward to bringing Daddy a book about honeybees makes a satisfying story and one that may be a revelation to young library patrons of today. Malaspina adds an author's note explaining the history of segregated libraries and the ultimately successful struggle of African-American activists for equal access to information. Award-winning illustrator Bootman is noted for his vibrant Caribbean-influenced paintings, but in these watercolors he uses a more sober, subdued palette appropriate to the atmosphere of the Alabama town. In the vibrant red of the library's doors, however, kids can sense the hope for treasures within. Even though the white characters (mostly shown as nasty, dull, or ugly) verge on caricature, the richer colors of Mama's purple apron and Daddy's blue and yellow beekeeping shirt emphasize the warmth and support of Louis's family. A bibliography lists more books about the young Abe Lincoln, segregation, and the civil rights movement. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—A story set in 1951, when most public libraries in the South were for whites only. Louis, an African-American child, needs to find information on the boyhood of Abraham Lincoln for a school report. Using his usual sources, his father's collection of books and the family's church library, he still cannot find what he needs and longs to be allowed to visit the local public library. Bravely conquering his fear, he walks into the building and is met by total disapprobation by everyone except one understanding librarian, who finds a way to help him. Soft, rich watercolor illustrations accompany the text, creating a compelling look at an important piece of history. Some brief facts on Lincoln and the slavery issue, a suggested list of further reading, and a note on the history behind the book's subject are appended.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Kirkus Reviews
"It was 1951 in Alabama, and Louis could play all his piano scales and roller-skate backwards. Still he couldn't borrow a book from the main library." The need to write an essay on young Abraham Lincoln is motivation for a young African-American boy and an opportunity for a young Caucasian librarian. With equanimity, Louis enters the whites-only library and is turned away, but the young librarian who escorts him to the door whispers that he should return after closing. Bootman's illustrations depict Louis's curiosity, determination and joy as her pursues his quest for justice. Malaspina's moving text explains the societal mores of the time and the actions of the people committed to rewriting them. Much of the story's power derives from Louis's lack of awareness of the momentous actions underway. Children usually do not fully understand the effects of the choices they make, but learning to be thoughtful and contemplative before acting is a salutary lesson readers will take away from this impressive tale. (Picture book. 5-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933938714
  • Publisher: Nutmeg Media
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Format: DVD - NTSC
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 10, 2011

    Buy this book!

    What a great story for kids to read about a time in our history that is relevant today.

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