Monday, June 8, 2009

Book Review: Dear Mr. President: Abraham Lincoln--Letters from a Slave Girl

My younger (2nd and 6th grade) kids and I spent about a month reading about Abraham Lincoln this year, and we really enjoyed this epistolary work by Andrea Davis Pinkney. The fictional letters are between President Lincoln and a young slave girl, Lettie Tucker, who was secretly taught to read and write by her master's daughter. Lettie tells the president about her life, and in doing so challenges his views and perhaps influences his decisions. The President in turn shares his thoughts with Lettie, and together the mourn the loss of his young son and of Lettie's father.

We enjoyed the conversational tone of the book as well as the pictures. I liked how so many historical events were included in the letters, and my kids were familiar enough with the events of the Civil War to have some context. I did have issues, however, with Lettie's command of the written word and her constant profundity. I understand that it makes connections in the book, but it was all a little too blatant.

But my kids didn't notice that kind of thing. They were really enthralled by the story of Lettie and Mr. Lincoln, and the photographs were wonderful. I'd count this as a valuable addition to a study of Abraham Lincoln.

No comments: