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Abraham Lincoln Biographies

For Kids of All Ages


Updated August 05, 2013

Few U.S. presidents have earned the kind of respect and admiration as Abraham Lincoln has. He was a man in the right place at the right time, a man willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the country that he loved. People who recognize the traits of gifted individuals can easily see that Lincoln was a truly gifted man. His life can be an inspiration to gifted kids who come from less than ideal beginnings. They can learn the lesson that it is through hard work, not just ability that people can raise themselves up from the lowliest position to the highest position an individual can hold in America. Most gifted children enjoy reading biographies, and I'm sure they will love reading about America's 16th president. There are many biographies of Lincoln, but here are some good choices for a variety of ages, from 2 to adult.

1. The Story of Abraham Lincoln

This board book about Abraham Lincoln is a great book to introduce the youngest of readers to the life of this great president. Children will enjoy looking at at the lovely pictures while learning about Lincoln's childhood in Indiana, his leadership during the Civil War, and his writing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The thick pages will ensure that the book stands up to the use little hands are likely to give it! Ages 2 and up.
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2. Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books

The book jacket reads "He loved books. They changed his life. He changed the world." What could be more true? Lincoln was a very intelligent and honorable boy who grew up to be an intelligent and honorable man. Like all biographies of Lincoln, this one tells us about his his childhood and his rise in politics to become the 16th president of the United States. What makes this one so unique is that it ties his love of reading to the events in his life. Gifted kids who love to read will surely enjoy learning about the "bookish" Lincoln. Ages 5 and up.
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3. Abraham Lincoln (Dell Picture Yearling Special)

This Caldecott Medal Book is a wonderful biography of Lincoln. It may be a little too "innocent" a view than more modern books of Lincoln, but it still provides a great deal of facts about Lincoln, particularly his earlier life. The story ends before the assassination of Lincoln, so parents of sensitive kids who might be upset at that part of the story don't have to worry. Ages 7 and up.
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4. Meet Abraham Lincoln (Landmark Books)

The simple style of this book makes it a great one for young readers. It also contains wonderful stories, some that include Lincoln's own words. Here's an example of a story from the book that demonstrates both Lincoln's integrity and his sense of humor:
Once a man in the wrong asked Lincoln to take his case. Lincoln said no. He said, "All the time I was talking to the jury, I'd be thinking I was a liar. And I believe I'd forget myself and say it out loud."
For ages 7 and up
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5. Who Was Abraham Lincoln?

This book with its black and white woodcut style drawings is a real charmer! Children will be able to relate to young Lincoln, especially those whose learn best by slow consideration of the facts and need to understand them all. Lincoln from an early age at a deep desire to learn and would do what he could to feed that desire. The book points out this character trait of Lincoln's. Information Lincoln learned as a boy he could still repeat as a man, like passages from Shakespeare's plays that he had memorized. For ages 9 and up
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6. Don't Know Much About Abraham Lincoln

The format of the "Don't Know Much About" books allows readers to skip around to get answers to questions they need to know, want to know, or are curious about. This book about Lincoln is no different. Readers don't have to read the book from cover to cover to get the most out of it. The Q&A format makes it easy for them to skip around as they get answers to questions like "Who suggested Lincoln grow a beard?" and "Why did he almost fight a duel?" What!? Lincoln nearly fought a duel? There's lots of interesting information about Lincoln in this book. For ages 8 and up.
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7. Lincoln: A Photobiography

This book is a multi-awarding winning one: the Newbery Medal, the Jefferson Cup Award and the Golden Kite Honor Book Award. It also earned a citation as School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. The book covers Lincoln's life quite thoroughly for children, but rather than relying primarily on drawings, it contains numerous photos from the period. Cell phones with cameras weren't around back then. In fact, photography was relatively new, so we don't have the kinds of photos of Lincoln and his times as we have of later presidents and later times. The photographs add a fascinating addition to a biography of Lincoln. At the end of the book, children will find a collection of some of Lincoln's best known quotations. Ages 8 and up
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8. Abraham Lincoln for Kids: His Life and Times with 21 Activities

This biography is an interesting one to use for homeschoolers, and any parent (or teacher) who would like to add some activities to enhance an understanding of Lincoln's life and the times in which he lived. Children will learn about Lincoln's intelligence, humor, and kind heart. They will learn about his boyhood and the important issues of the day, including slavery. Activities include building a "log" cabin, model river flatboat, and a stovepipe hat. They'll even learn to deliver a speech! The book includes more ways to learn about Lincoln through websites, travel, and additional reading. For ages 9 and up.
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9. DK Biography: Abraham Lincoln

This book is another winner from DK books. These books are known for their format of beautiful photos and illustrations of people places, and artifacts, that artistically enhance the information provided. Like all DK books, this one includes short, informative sidebars. Sidebars in this book will help children understand life an issues of the day: milk sickness, reconstruction, Dred Scott, and the Nat Turner Rebellion to name just a few. For ages 10 and up.
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10. A. Lincoln: A Biography

This biography is more suited for teens and adults than young children. It is an in-depth look at Lincoln and his life, presenting a view that is not often seen. For instance, many people believe that Lincoln was a "dark horse" candidate in the 1860 presidential election, but the author points out that Lincoln was well known, popular, at least in Illinois, and experienced. Although the author doesn't hesitate to include more difficult words or concepts, he does explain them so that unsure readers don't need to open up the dictionary. That can be quite useful to younger, advanced readers, who still have a few things to learn!
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11. Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever

This book is also not strictly a children's book. It's not, strictly speaking, a biography either. However, it an excellent book about Lincoln for a number of reasons. First, although it starts with the Civil War already raging, the character of Lincoln shines though so that readers learn about the character of the man. Another reason the book is an excellent one to read is that it turns what many think of as dry, boring facts into something more like an exciting thriller. And really, that's what much of history is like - we just don't always see it! And we don't usually see the influence of seemingly unrelated events - like the relationship between John Wilkes Booth and his girlfriend - and the major effects that change the world. If you have a teen who thinks history is boring, this is an excellent book choice.
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